Disclaimer: Froggy has to write a special disclaimer for this part, and guess what? It's not a Pokémon disclaimer. I wrote that one already! This one's just to say I don't own the song 'You Showed Me' and that the songwriters or the Turtles or whoever owns it. I didn't make it up. It actually exists and it's a truly gorgeous song...
Author's Note: I would also like to say that I wrote this part this way because I do believe that Jessi likes James, too, but I think that James likes her more, and has liked her for longer than she has liked him. I also think that she knew it all along, but was uncomfortable and maybe even scared about it, like she is portrayed in this story.
Part Two: The Bridge Bike Gang
It was a really long walk, but it was a little more interesting because I could talk to James. He always *was* easy to talk to. He always listens, looks at you, nods, and you can feel his eyes watching you. He at least acts like he cares, and, especially when it's me he's listening to, he really *does* care. James is just a really good listener.
So, naturally I poured out to him my whole life's history like I never have before, and explained how my father had always hit me and my mom never really seemed to care and how I felt like I couldn't trust men because of it...except, of course, for James.
I knew from the first time I saw James that I could trust him with my life.
And when I was done, and had depressed myself almost to the point of tears, he smiled at me, took my hand and looked into my eyes.
"You can always trust me, Jess." he said softly, taking a rose from his backpack, "Don't forget this..."
"How could I?" I asked, smiling finally, holding up the hand with the silver bracelet on it. He grinned.
A few hours later we finally got to the Sunnytown Bridge, which had been under construction for as long as I could remember. As always when someone on foot or bikes came by, the gang Bridge guard sped up and skidded to a stop in front of us, showering us with a cloud of dust from his tires.
We stood coughing.
"Hey, it's Jess! Chainer Jess!" he said, waving the dust away, a smile lighting his dark eyes.
It was Cyglass.
Cyglass, of all people.
"Hey, Cyglass!" I yelled, grinning. Cyglass was this really cute guy with a shock of shaggy black hair and dark eyes. He managed to be both a member of the gang, and an honorable member of society. He was obsessed with soccer, and attended a public school and got on the honor roll every semester.
I still don't know how he did it.
I, of course, had been in love with him since...always. He was my first true love. He always will be the first, I suppose, but not the best...
Cyglass ran up to me and hugged me. Here I was, with the first guy I ever loved hugging me, so of course I went pure, beet red.
And I mean *red*.
I was just bringing my arms awkwardly up around this *perfect* guy's back to return the hug when he let go of me, held me at arm's length, and grinned.
"It's Jess!" he said, "Hey, Big Jess, I missed you an awful lot!"
*He* missed *me*?
He hugged me again.
When he was done hugging me he traced the soft pad of his thumb along my jawline, very tenderly. I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable and blissfully happy. I shot a look at James, who was staring blatantly at me and Cyglass, still standing there, facing each other, staring into each other's eyes.
"Jessi's back!" he shouted back towards the gang's little hideout by the bank of the lake spanned by the Sunnytown bridge. I could see a girl with long dark-green hair poke her head out the door.
"Jess?!" she called, throwing the door open and running up the bank. She gave me a hug.
"Yeah, it's me, Tyra!" I yelled back, happy to be back where people actually missed me. James was scuffing the toe of one of his hiking boots in the dusty road, looking distinctly uncomfortable. I ignored him.
I actually ignored my James to talk to Cyglass, Tyra, and Chopper, who were flooding out of the hideout to see me.
It was a stupid thing to do.
Of course, I was so happy to be *home*, and Cyglass kept *looking* at me in this *way* that made heat come up in my cheeks. It all seemed so much more important than the vow I'd made to James...*with* James.
He took a hesitant step towards us, but I paid no attention to him.
"So, where were you? Juvey?" Cyglass demanded.
"No! No...I got caught...Jenny...dad sent me off to prep school!" I replied. Cyglass put his arm around me and I smelled his smell, and could feel his heat. I'd almost never felt so loved, and I'd definitely never wanted to swoon that much.
Except when James had given me the bracelet.
But I'd forgotten that for a moment.
"Prep school?!" they said in united shocked pity.
"Yeah." I said, soaking up the attention, "I hated it! Picked up that kid, too." I finished harshly, crooking my thumb back at James.
I watched pain fill his face as he mouthed the words '...that kid?...' and looked at the ground, face red with shame, eyes clouded with confusion.
Now that'll sure snap a person back to reality awfully fast.
Guilt stabbed me in the stomach as I realized that I'd just come *so* close to betraying my best friend. I'd actually hurt James the way his parents always had. That wasn't caring! I'd broken the vow...
I shook Cyglass's arm off and ran over to James. I gave him a big hug by way of apology, which he accepted almost gratefully, and when I let him go he whispered to me.
"I thought you were gonna tell me to get lost or something."
"I'm sorry. I got carried away." I said sorrowfully. He smiled me forgiveness, "James is a great guy..." I continued to the rest of the gang, who were all crowded around me, and, now, James, "He's practically my best friend. He was my *only* friend at Pokémon Tech."
James smiled, "Hi." he said, bringing his hand up to wave shyly.
"You brought a *prep school* kid to the toughest bike gang around?" Tyra asked skeptically, tossing her hair back.
"Yeah. Can he even ride?" Chopper, another member of the gang asked, hands on hips.
"Of course he can...can't you James?"
James stared at the ground, "Actually...no..."
The gang burst out laughing, even Cyglass, and I glared at James.
"You can't ride a *bike*, James? How sad is that?" I said.
"My parents wouldn't let me, *okay*? I *wanted* to! Maybe I can just use training wheels..."
"You're fifteen years old! You can't ride a bike?!"
"Sorry." he mumbled, beet red again.
"Well, that's okay. He must be alright if he's a friend of Chainer Jess." Cyglass said, cradling me against him with a strong arm, "We'll accept him."
A few days later I was helping James put the training wheels on, and fix up one of the old gang bikes. He'd actually fit in okay, and earned the nickname 'L'il Jim' from Chopper, Tyra, and Cyglass. He was like a little brother to them.
Me and him were already up on a bit of a pedestal, since we were the only kids in the gang who no longer lived at home. We were seen as better rebels because we'd actually made the step to being on our own, self-supporting. No rules. Little did the gang know we'd both grown up by ourselves.
We roomed together in the gang's hideout, me and James together. There were two beds, and a bathroom, and a table and chairs. It was a regular house, almost. James and I lived together there, seperate from our parents, with no rules, but happier and less alone than we'd been for our entire lives.
We went on a rampage of robbery to get all the stuff we needed, at camping and grocery stores. There were enough grocery stores in Sunnytown, and the town on the other side of the bridge that we could hit a different one every week and then go back to the first and not get recognized. Especially since we'd dress up different every time. That was where James and I became masters of disguise.
I also asked Cyglass what ever had happened to Cassidy, and he just told me she'd gotten caught, like me, that same night, only she'd been sent to Juvenile Hall (Juvey) for a couple years. I kind of barked out a laugh. That was what the orange-haired freak deserved for just dumping me like that. Besides, it was removal of competition. Cassidy and I had always kind of vied for Cyglass's affection, and now I had it all.
Anyways, we got the stuff we needed.
A camp stove.
A little fridge.
James turned out to be an excellent cook. He took the awful stuff we stole and shoplifted from grocery stores, stuck it on a simple gas camp stove and turned it into beautiful, mouthwatering meals even the gang said was better than their mothers' cooking.
And Cyglass told me he'd missed me something terrible. And Cyglass told me he liked me. And Cyglass kissed me and asked me out. And I was in heaven.
James seemed to withdraw a little, even from me. He got very quiet, spending most of his time drawing on whatever paper he could scrounge up, exercising his extensive artistic ability. He doesn't look like it, but James is a very good artist and can write some of the best poetry you've ever read, about anything. But in our bike gang days, it seemed more and more that he used it as an escape, to get away from reality. I think he was confused by my relationship with Cyglass, and maybe he felt threatened by it, like I was going to forget our vow.
Of course, that was a thing to stick in a person's mind, vowing to care about someone forever, no matter what.
Cyglass may have been the most important man in my life, but James was the most important person. Cyglass kissed me, James could finish my sentences. Cyglass took me to movies, James thought the same way I did.
Besides, me and James were always together, we lived together in our hideout and managed it like a household. We were together all day, every day, and we got to know each other better than ever. Still, he never told me any details about his life, when I asked him he just said he 'didn't want to talk about it, and could I please hand him his drawing pencil?' All I really ever knew about his past was that he came from a rich family and had parents that didn't really care about him much.
I didn't find out more until much later.
We'd spend hours talking at night, weaving stories together about all the great things we'd do, how rich we'd be and the hundreds of Pokémon we'd have. And I would sometimes talk about Cyglass and how much I loved him, and would weave him into our stories. I would marry him, I said, and James could live with us in our mansion, and, laughingly I suggested they wait on me hand and foot.
When I did that, James would laugh halfheartedly and roll over, back to me. He would then say that he wanted to go to sleep in a kind of confused and heartachy voice.
I don't know why I didn't realize it then.
The day that made us heroes in the Bridge Bike Gang dawned like any other.
James was up at the crack of dawn with eggs and toast, dressed and cooking, creating perfect black coffee and food, as I dragged myself out of bed and stuck my head in a bucket of water to clean myself off.
James then set the food up on the table, back to me, while I changed out of my pyjamas into real clothes, and talked his ear off about Cyglass. He just sighed, and was silent. We ate breakfast together and fed our Pokémon while we made impressions on each other for the day as to what moods we were in. James seemed kind of melancholy that day, while, on the other hand, I was quite cheerful and happy. I'd been a lot happier since Cyglass happened. Cyglass was the only male besides James I had total trust in, ever.
I should have known.
There are so many things about that day I wish I could forget, and although it strengthened the kind of strange bond me and James had always had, it also further weakened the trust I had in people, especially men.
It was a kind of stormy day, I guess Nature was melancholy just like James was. We sat at the table in the hideout, talking quietly, James a little more interested in his food than in conversation, because my conversation centered on Cyglass.
Of course, halfway through breakfast, the whole gang poured in the door. Chopper, who James was starting to become really good friends with, hung over James's shoulder and stole chunks of scrabled eggs off his plate while James kind of laughed and tried to keep eating. Cyglass sat beside me and pulled my face to the side and kissed me. Hard.
I kissed back.
And when we pulled away from each other, I found James sitting with his fork halfway to his mouth, staring at me with shock on his face. It occured to me he'd never seen me kiss Cyglass before. He cocked his head to the side and stared into my eyes, mouth still half open. For a moment, only me and James existed, the wild, livid activity of everyone else in the gang fading into nothing as I tried to decipher the look on his face. Somewhere between hurt and shock.
He was hurt that I kissed Cyglass?
He had no right.
Anger built up and I reached out and hit James across the side of the face. Hard.
All activity ceased.
James looked down at his plate, and then mechanically forced himself to eat what was left on his fork.
"What'd L'il Jim do ta deserve that?" Chopper demanded, roughly rubbing James's shoulders.
I responded by kissing Cyglass again.
James stood and numbly walked outside into the rain.
I was still angry at him. How dare he even care what I did with Cyglass? How could he be hurt by what I did? The anger was completely irrational, and I really think that it was half me being freaked out that James was caring enough about me in *that* way to be jealous. But I couldn't choose between Cyglass and James.
That choice had to be made for me.
It was raining outside harder than ever, but me and Cyglass decided to go for a walk under his umbrella, snuggled together, his arm around me, my head cuddled against his shoulder. Maybe seeing us that way would prove to James that I was taken. At least, *that* way.
We walked past James, who was huddling under the eaves of the hideout, eyes downcast, hugging himself for warmth. He spun and ran back inside.
We walked around for a long time, and I forgot to count the time. I was all raw and painful inside, not knowing what was wrong with me, why I treated people this way...
Me and Cyglass walked out onto the bridge, dodging the toll booth guy who said 'no pedestrians', and laughing about it. It was funny, I was completely numb inside from what I'd just done to James, and yet I was laughing. Hating myself and enjoying myself at the same time. We were so sneaky...and I was trying to get the image of James's face out of my head.
The wind was so strong I had to cling to Cyglass to avoid getting almost blown off the bridge. It was windy and raining hard, and dark despite only being 2:00 in the afternoon. We stood out on the bridge, enjoying our togetherness. Another hour passed. It was almost evening now, and it was dark as midnight.
Suddenly we heard a noise, and looked up from each other to see a herd of kids on bikes from the direction of Sunnytown. Instant panic.
And we were all alone, without our gang to back us up. It was the Sunnytown Bike Gang, and they were the Bridge Bike Gang's biggest rival. Here we were, alone, with no one to help us, without bikes, even.
We were surrounded by laughing, crowing guys and girls on bikes, who rode circles around us. I clung to Cyglass in fear, who looked around. No way out.
The main girl in the gang pulled out a Poké ball, and called out a Bulbasaur. She tossed back her dark purple hair and grinned.
"Bulbasaur, use your vine whips on these Bridge scum." she ordered coldly, "We were out riding a storm no one in the Bridge Bike Gang could even attempt to ride, and here we found two scum proving it! You don't even have bikes."
I clung harder to Cyglass as the vine whips arced towards us, and he grabbed my waist. The thought ran through my head that he was going to protect me with his own body, and then, to my shock he turned so the whips hit me. I winced, felt the bruises forming on my hip, and then Cyglass pushed me away from him.
"Every man for himself." Cyglass said, grinning slyly. He then turned and ran off towards the bank, leaving my by myself, "Bye, Jess!" he hollered back over his shoulder.
I went even number inside, "C-Cyglass?" I stuttered, shock freezing me up. I couldn't move. I'd hurt James for this?
Oh no. I had to get back to see him.
I was surrounded by Sunnytowners and turned to run back towards the hideout to find James, scared and confused by what had just happened to me. I tripped hard on a rock and landed on my chest and stomach, knocking all the breath out of my body. I lay there for a moment, my mind in denial, not breathing, numb, not believing Cyglass had just done this to me.
"Nice boyfriend you got there." mocked the purple-haired girl from above me. I felt a foot on my back, and drew my hands up to cover my head and screamed.
All the members of the gang had left a few minutes after James had come back inside. He had lay down on the floor and turned the tape on, not really caring what came out, feeling abandoned. The vow was being broken and he didn't know how to stop it.
He lay there on the hard floor, flat on his back, staring at the ceiling, tears alternately welling up and going away, but never spilling. From the tapedeck echoed the oldies music he usually loved.
"You...showed me how to do....all the things you do...how I fell in love with you...You...showed me how to say...exactly what you say...in that very special way..."
'You Showed Me' by the Turtles drifted from the speakers as he was starting to fall asleep. His half-asleep mind barely registered the haunting, beautiful music, with its lyrics of love. 'What a lie.' he thought vaguely, before sinking into a dream. He always dreamed about Jessi, but usually they weren't nightmares...they were always... nice...maybe he would have peace in sleep...
His Jessi was falling and falling down a black hole, bottomless, deadly. She was terrified, face white, beautiful blue eyes full of terror. Her loose hair was spread out around her like blood. She was screaming for him, actually needing him, and he reached for her small hand, the one with the bracelet, and tried to catch her. His fingers brushed his and he managed to catch her wrist. His fingers twined in the bracelet, and he begged her not to leave him. She grinned and let go of his hand. The bracelet stayed in his hand. She fell, screaming.
He sat up suddenly, eyes wide, face coated with a thin sheen of sweat, freezing cold everywhere, shivering. Without registering coherent thought, he grabbed his long black trench coat and ran out into the rain towards the little shed where the bikes were stored. Had to get to Jessi. Just had to.
Halfway there he met Cyglass coming up the path, alone under his umbrella. No Jessi. Where was Jessi? The bottom of the hole? No...no...he couldn't let that happen...
"Where's Jessi?!" he yelled, trying not to let the terror taint his voice.
"On the Bridge. Sunnytowners got her."
"You just left her there to get hurt?"
"No skin off my back. I can get a new girlfriend. I'm not getting hurt to save anyone." he said, smirking cruelly.
Fire burned inside James like it never had before. Pure, acidic anger. He drew his fist back and slammed it satisfyingly into Cyglass's self-satisfied smirk. Cyglass went down with his umbrella and stayed there.
"You don't deserve to get hurt protecting her." he said, leaning over Cyglass. He walked into the shed. He rode as fast as he could towards the bridge, rain running through his hair and down his back.
I looked up at my attackers, the purple-haired girl leading the attack. I was on the ground, covering my head, moaning in pain as bruises formed all over me. It hurt so bad, I was beyond coherence. I was going numb.
Another attack by that blasted Bulbasaur was heading towards me. They were the worst, the vine whips hurt so bad...I watched them come towards me full force, seeming like slow motion. My head throbbed and I covered my eyes, whimpering.
I felt something land beside me and my first thought was, 'did the vine whips miss?', until I opened my eyes and saw a shock of wet lavender hair right in front of my face. I felt the vibrations as the vine whips hit him. He spun and wrapped his arms around my waist, looking down at me with a soothing look in his eyes.
"C'mon Jess. Let's get out of here!" he said.
He looked like an angel with his hair all plastered against his head with the rain, his hand out towards me. My mind flashed back to the engraving on the bracelet I still wore. He was my savior now, not the other way around.
I took his hand and we ran off towards his bike until the Sunnytowners got all around us, surrounding us like they had surrounded me and Cyglass. I didn't cling to James like I had to Cyglass. I knew I could trust him, but I was still a little afraid of what I'd done to him earlier.
I'd actually hit my James.
And I'd hit him hard.
And he didn't seem to care, in fact, he grabbed my hand and pulled me behind him as the bikes sped towards us, and grabbed the handlebars of one of them as it tried to run us down and wrenched it off to the side, opening a hole in the surrounding bikes. He then dragged me, his numb little shadow, along to his bike. He helped me onto the seat, and jumped onto the pedals in front of me. I wrapped my arms around his waist and held tight as he sped towards the drawbridge section of the bridge. Just as we were heading towards it, it started to open, and James just pedaled harder.
We flew over an abyss of water and boat and air and darkness. I clung to James, tired and scared and beyond caring if I died.
We landed on the other side and James pedaled us home.
"Here." James said quietly, handing me a bundle of clothing. I was soaking wet and shivering violently, and I was still icy numb. Beyond feeling. I'd had an emotion overload, which I didn't get over for a very long time. Months. Years. Not until a special day a long time later...
The clothes turned out to be a pair of loose grey sweatpants and a hooded blue sweatshirt. It was James's clothes. I had been envying the sweatshirt for a long time, and now he'd handed it to me, warm, and soft. I snuggled my face into it.
"Now, go and change before you freeze. I don't want my Jess to freeze."
I stood and walked to the bathroom. I stripped and slid into the warm clothes. James was so sweet to me...at that moment I actually felt like I didn't deserve him.
Imagine that? Me thinking I didn't deserve James?
That was sarcasm.
I walked out into the main room and sat on a chair. James, in his own dry clothes, stepped up behind me and started to rub my shoulders firmly. He was so gentle. The friction warmed me and soothed away my hurts. I soaked it in for a few minutes, dipping my head forward and closing my eyes. But it couldn't last. My insane mistrust got the better of me. Why was he massaging me? What could I do if he tried something? What should I do, since I really didn't deserve this?
"James..." I mumbled, "Please...don't touch me anymore..."
His fingers paused on my shoulders for a moment.
"Why?" he whispered.
"All right." he mumbled, walking away from my back and sat in a chair in front of me, "Are you okay, Jessi?" he asked. I could sense he knew I was messed up in the head right then, and he was scared for me.
"I will be, James. I will be."
"We're leaving." James announced the next morning, while the rest of the gang was fawning around us, talking about how great we were for riding the storm on the bridge where we could be blown down at any minute, not to mention the drawbridge thing...
I just wanted to forget it. All of it.
"You're leaving?" Chopper demanded.
"But you two are so cool!" Tyra fawned.
It made me sick.
We left. James had made the decisions. I wished I'd never come back. I wanted to forget everything my life had included up until then.
While we walked down the path towards the next town, where James had said maybe we could get Pokémon Trainer's licenses, I tried not to think about the weeks of torture I'd just gone through.
Suddenly a man in a black outfit with a large red 'R' on it showed up in front of us. His eyes were shadowed by a black hat he wore, and he stayed just out of reach of us.
"Psst...wanna join Team Rocket?" he hissed.