12.

"Don't even talk about the consequence,
'Cause right now you're the only thing that's making sense to me.
And I don't give a damn what they say, what they think.
'Cause you're the only one who's on my mind."
Untouched
The Veronicas

"Wasn't tough enough, apparantly," Cyri muttered under her breath, burying her head in her arms.

Jareth straightened up from where he had been leaning against the counter, hanging on my every word. "You have an incredible memory," he said, running a hand through his too-short hair. "I mean, before this, I couldn't remember half the stuff you're saying, but...now, I remember it all as clear as day."

Someone shifted, and I jumped; I'd almost forgotten Daydie (junior, she's not the real Daydie...) was there at all. "So...you guys went out for pizza? Even Daydie; after all that?"

"Yeah," Jareth responded before I could even open my mouth. "We went for pizza, and Daydie paid, just like I predicted, genius that I am."

I laughed. "Oh, yes, you psychic, you." I playfully hit him on the chest. "You know, I don't really remember that pizza-outing too well."

He grinned. "Oh, c'mon; the time that I slammed that extra-cheese slice in Rhuben's face because he was making fun of my sneakers?"

The memory hit me full-force in the face. "Oh, yeah—those stupid things that you had duct-taped together. Why were you wearing those beat up shoes, anyway?"

He flushed. "Do you remember me being a kid that could just go buy things when he needed them?" I shook my head. "Exactly. I had old sneakers, so I was going to wear them until I had the means to pay for new ones."

"You could have asked me," I said, feeling slightly offended. "I could have afforded to get you a new pair." Back then, my mind added grudgingly.

Reaching over to mess my hair up, he chuckled, "Silly Rosalyn. You seem to remember me pretty well from back then. Was I ever going to ask you to do anything for me?"

The second his fingers met my hair, a kind of static electricity moved me to reach out and grab his hand. "Well, as I recall," I said, bringing his fingers absent-mindedly to my lips and lovingly kissing each one, "you asked me for plenty, back then."

Daydie cleared her throat uncomfortably. I jumped and released Jareth's hand; I had almost completely forgotten we weren't the only two people in existance. Jareth distractedly began pacing.

"Nothing really significant happened for a while after they kicked the crap out of Daydie," I said, thinking of where to pick the story back up.

"Woah, woah, woah; I can think of a few significant things," Jareth said, coming to an abrupt halt and staring at me.

I smiled skeptically. "Like what?"

"Well, we spent pretty much every day together, you and I," he informed me with a smile of his own. "We hung out in your room with the fox. Dante," he corrected himself. "Remember—I ended up shimmying down the drainpipe one time because your father came home and we didn't want him to think we'd been—doing something," he censored himself for his daughter's sake.

I shut my eyes. Yes, I remembered this, and all too clearly at that. In my brain, I recalled each separate occasion that Jareth and I shared. These memories flicked through my head before I had time to really relish them. The day after the pizza-party, he'd talked me out of leaving Xavier. 'You two just seem like you...belong together, you know? He really loves you,' he'd told me, flicking my nose fondly.

The following day, we'd taken Dante on a walk with us. He'd made a comment about school starting for me soon. I remembered being really aggrivated by the idea of being the youngest one in my new group of friends; I would be the only one back in school.

In the kitchen, I stood up and walked over to where he'd paused in his pacing. For a moment, the fact that Daydie was watching us carefully totally escaped me. The fact that Cyri might be looking too, also didn't occur to me at all.

For now, it was just Jareth and I.

He seemed to be on the same page. He reached down and took my hands in his, smiling warmly at me. "I missed you," I breathed, my voice barely audible.

"I missed you, too," he responded softly, his kind eyes—blue, not hazel like Cyri's—pouring out into me.

We stood there for two whole moments, holding hands and swimming in each other's eyes, before Cyri cleared her throat. "Rosalyn, I think we've had enough of the story for today," she said formally, any trace of the small friendship we'd been slowly forming completely gone.

I looked over at her for a brief second, and then eyed Daydie hesitantly. Would she say nothing? I thought she'd be more eager for the story to continue, but she kept her eyes on the ground, her mouth shut tight.

"Okay," I sighed, defeated. I released Jareth's hands, and it was like a switch had turned him back on.

"I'll drive her home," he offered instantly, looking at Cyri without even the slightest question of approval. Daydie looked up at her father, shocked, but still said nothing. "Let's go," he said to me, heading out the front door.

I didn't even spare a glance for the other two as I followed him. I heard Cyri disbelievingly mutter, "Bitch," before I shut the front door behind me. I grinned at that and joined Jareth in his car; sleek, black, shiny, new.

Once we were in the car, Jareth asked, "Where are you living these days?"

With a sigh, I told him, "Head past the Riverbank Cafe, first. I'll tell you where from there."

He nodded and put the car in reverse. "So...how'd Cyri get ahold of you, anyhow?"

"I really don't know. I got a letter in the mail-box one morning from a Mrs. Cyri Rachels, and I almost had a heart-attack. She asked me if I could tell her what actually happened with...him," I finished lamely, somehow embarrassed to say his name in front of Jareth.

His expression became amused. "She always was able to get almost anything she wanted."

"Except X," I said.

"Except X," he agreed, nodding and taking a left. "And when did she decide that the story was appropriate for our daughter to hear?"

"When I met your daughter. She thought I was a criminal," I laughed. "And..." My laughter disappeared suddenly, "she said that you didn't mention me."

He bit his lip and looked at me. "Rosalyn, you know that...well, the last time I saw you, I was under the impression that...well, you made it pretty clear that you never wanted to see me, ever again. And...well, after the trial, Cyri was waiting for me, to tell me...well, that she might be having my child." He looked away. "At that point, I'd only...slept with her once, just for the record."

I chuckled lightly. "Yeah. I know." We passed the Cafe. "Over this bridge," I prompted, pointing.

"You know," he said as he followed my instructions, "I haven't been over this bridge since...your twentieth birthday party."

I grinned widely. "The one Daydie threw for me at her place?"

"Yeah." He sighed. "That was a good night."

Shrugging, I added, "...sort of. Right here."

He took the right and then the first left without any indications from me. "Oh, shit—sorry," he said, immediately pulling over. "I just went the way to Daydie's because we were talking about it."

"It's okay; I live on this street, anyway."

"You do?" He looked at me wildly. When I nodded, he shook his head and pulled back out onto the road. "Which house?" he asked.

"Number eight," I said. "The last one on the right, actually." I pointed to the shack of a home that I dwelled in, and he swore under his breath as he pulled up.

"Number eight." He looked out at the building. "Hasn't changed much since he sent us to catch Day," he admitted.

"Well, I think it looked better for my party. And, well, Garrett's behind on the lawn-mowing," I confessed, eyeing the knee-high grass.

Jareth shook his head again. "I can't get out here. Sorry." He looked at me. "And there's no way I'm letting you out of my sight any time soon."

Releasing a gust of air, I suggested, "Well, we could go back to your house. I owe Cyri a story and Daydie junior an apology." At his questioning gaze, I said, "Well, I did sort of unexpectedly steal her father."

He shuddered as he pulled a U-turn. "Don't call me a father. I feel so old."

I grinned and reached over, running my fingers through the remains of his hair. "I think dads can be pretty hot," I said, my voice thick with lust.

He just shifted uncomfortably in his seat and cleared his throat, a grin creeping over his face.


After we arrived back at the Rachels household, Jareth made me wait in the car. He went back into the house to kiss up to Cyri. I heard a lot of yelling, and when he came out to fetch me, he had a lump rising on his forehead. But I made no comment on the frying pan lying on the kitchen floor when I made my entrance, and Jareth went to get Daydie, who was crying upstairs.

I was left alone with Cyri. A situation that I never really fancied being in. She calmly picked up the frying pan and placed it in the sink, turning to face me with a serene look on her face. "I don't know who you think you are," she began, sounding confident in her deterring abilities, "that you think you can just come in here and destroy our family."

For a second, I thought she was going to keep on, but she didn't. Eventually, I snorted, "You don't know who I am? I'm Rosalyn Mays, bitch. Here to steal back what should have been mine and more. You got off easy, but your ending's coming soon."

She gawked at me as I cackled with laughter, and Jareth and Daydie rejoined us, neither one questioning our situation. "So what happened after that day with Dante?" Daydie asked, tearfully.

"I distinctly remember something crucial happening soon after they hurt Daydie," I said after an awkward silence, sliding into a barstool.

Jareth thought for a while before he replied, "You know what? You're right. Remember the library meeting?"

"Vaguely," I said, nodding. "I remember after, when we all—"

"Not after—during," he said. "Xavier gave everyone some kind of instructions, but I don't think I was there for it...that's why I don't remember specifically..."

"Ooh!" I exclaimed, suddenly recalling exactly what he was talking about. "Ooh—I know what you mean! I remember!" I sat up straighter in my chair, looking at Cyri. "Were you there for that?"

"No."

I didn't even pay attention to the completely defeated look on her pretty face as she fell into her usual chair. "Yeah, well, we showed up together, didn't we?" Jareth asked me, his head tilted slightly to the side.

Rewinding the memory in my head, I said, "Yeah. We were just getting back from a bikeride." I settled back into my chair and prepared to jump back into the story. "I remember, it was the irst time you let me ride without a helmet."

"Let you?" he laughed. "I made you."

I grinned. "Even so...