One phone call will bring Jess's past into her present; it could turn out deadly for her.
| Jess Verson gave a small yawn as she tried to keep up with her professor, but her mind was more focused on the soup she was going to microwave for dinner than the fall of Anne Boleyn.
"Oh, sorry," she whispered quickly as she realized her head had drooped onto the shoulder of the person sitting next to her. Jess couldn't help but notice that he had terrible acne and long mousy-brown, greasy hair that he had obviously attempted to comb out of his face but was now falling back into his squinty eyes.
"N-No problem," he stammered. Jess gave an obligated smile and went back to minding her own business.
* * *
"Chicken noodle again?" Jess' dorm roommate Tammy chuckled. Jess made a sour face and deliberately slurped the rest of her soup down loudly.
"It's cheap," she shrugged. "Where are you off to tonight?"
"The Disturbed concert. I'm so stoked!" Tammy yelled with enthusiasm, punching the air with her tattooed fist. "What about you?"
"Studying. My prof made no sense today. I'm better off with Wikipedia," Jess murmured. Tammy yawned mockingly.
"Booo-ring! I'm going to have some real fun. See ya!" she grinned as she walked out the door.
Jess hadn't even started studying before her dorm phone rang. Who'd be calling me so late? she wondered, as she picked it up. "Hello?"
"Jessica Ruth Verson?"
"Uh, yeah that's me. May I ask who's calling?"
"Oh I doubt you remember me, but I know everything about you. I'm in love with you."
"What? Who is this? Is this some kind of joke?" Jess demanded.
"Why would I joke about something like that? You just hurt my feelings, Jessica."
"Listen, buddy. You don't know me, so leave me the hell alone before I call campus security!" she threatened, her bottom lip trembling.
"Oh, but I do know you, Jessica. I know that you have short curly brown hair and bright green eyes with freckles on your nose..."
"LEAVE ME ALONE YOU FREAK!" she screamed, before slamming the phone back onto the receiver. Taking a deep breath, she tried to reason with herself. It's just a prank, Jess. Plenty of the guys here would know what you look like, she told herself.
She seated herself on her bed when the phone rang again. She picked up the phone, but the person on the other end spoke before she could utter a word.
"Why did you hang up on me, Jessica? I thought we were getting acquainted." Jess burst into terrified tears.
"WHO ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?" she screamed, curling up into a trembling ball.
"There's no need for shouting, Jessica. I only wanted to tell you how much I love you. If it helps, I also know that you hate blueberry jam; you watch the National News every morning, and when you were six, you fell off your bicycle and cut open your lip, which is why you still have that tiny scar on your upper lip. See? I know you inside and out," the voice insisted.
"GO AWAY!" she shrieked before hanging up again. Not two seconds later, the phone was ringing again. Jess picked it up furiously. "STOP CALLING ME!"
"You're being very hurtful, Jessica, but I'll forgive you. In fact, I think I'm going to pay you a visit right now so we can work things out. I'll see you in a bit. I hope you're excited."
Jess threw the phone at the wall with a horrified scream and ran to her door to lock it. She slid down to her knees, trembling violently.
A sharp rapping at her door made her scream again and crawl to the far corner of her room, sobbing.
"Miss Verson? Campus security. We've received concerned calls from your neighbours. Is everything alright?"
A relieved moan escaped Jess' lips and she dashed to the door, flinging it open without thinking. She clapped a terrified hand to her mouth when she saw who was on the other side. "You!" she whispered.
"Are you surprised?" It was the same guy she had apologized to in lecture earlier that day. He had gelled back his greasy hair and wore a dress shirt and tie. He held a singe red rose which he extended to Jess. "I brought this for you."
"No... get away from me..." she gasped, recoiling from the gift as though it were contaminated. Her admirer's smile twisted into a painful scowl and he tore the rose to shreds, the thorns bloodying his hands.
"LOOK WHAT YOU DID!" he bellowed, showing her his wounded hands and grabbing her by the throat. Jess could see the furious tears welling in his eyes. "My name is Johnathon Newface! Remember me? I was the guy who sat beside you every single day in European History, hoping you'd notice me! I was the guy who always smiled at you when you walked in and again when you left! I was the little boy who lived up your street and played with you every day! I loved you so much, I came with you to your university! Did you even recognize me when you saw me in your class? OF COURSE NOT!"
"P-Please... Johnny..." Jess stammered. She did remember him now. She knew him as Johnny when they were little, but when she moved at the age of twelve, she had forgotten all about him.
"You don't deserve my love! I'm going to do the same thing to your lovely face as you did to my heart; shred it!" he hissed.
"STOP AND TURN AROUND WITH YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!" a booming voice echoed. Startled, Johnathon let go of her and Jess crumpled to the ground in a fit of sobs.
* * *
"It was lucky the young men on your floor called us when they did," the campus security officer told Jess after Johnathon had been dragged out of the residence building and arrested. "They heard your screams. Mr. Newface has a history of behavioural problems and violent outbursts, but he can't hurt you anymore," she soothed.
"Thank you," Jess whispered.
For once, I had a more exciting night than Tammy, she thought wryly to herself.