"About a Girl"
"Anyway, I just don’t think it’s possible to do that with a gerbil. Not because some pervert wouldn’t try it, but because the gerbil would probably have a problem with that. If I was the gerbil I know I would," was what Karen and Judy heard as they approached the front of the house.
Turning the corner they saw Jessie and Katie sitting on the porch with their bags resting in front of them.
"What’s going on?" Judy asked looking at them strangely, not because of what Karen had told her or because of the conversation they had been having, but because it was extremely odd for them to be sitting out there.
"Forgot my keys," Jessie ground out starring up at her mother with a look that could wilt flowers. Karen looked away from her making a beeline for the door, realizing that they were out there because of rule number three and that Jessie wasn’t at all happy about it.
"We’ll have to get a spare made and hide it around here somewhere," Karen mumbled as she unlocked the door, still feeling Jessie’s eyes burning holes into her back. Unlocking the door she quickly stepped inside. Maybe they could revisit rule three, she thought to herself as the rest of them followed her inside.
"So," Karen started carefully. "You’re the one that introduced Jessie to Billie Holiday?" she continued trying to find the route to pumping Katie for information. Now that she knew the girl was dating her daughter she wanted all of the information on her that she could get.
"Yeah," Katie responded resting against the kitchen counter as Judy lounged beside her and Karen made coffee. Dr. Rosenfeld had called needing to reschedule Jessie’s appoint for the week, so she had run upstairs to call her dad to arrange a new day. "She’s great isn’t she?" Katie went on sounding like she was going to swoon. "Most kids don’t like the classic stuff, but I think it’s great. You just don’t hear stuff like that anymore, stuff that stays with you. I forget all the new songs like five minutes after I’ve heard them. But Lady Day is timeless."
Karen couldn’t help but smile at that, the girl had a point. "So you’re really interested in music?" she asked watching as Katie watched herself wiggle her foot. Kids were so strange.
"I like listening to it, but I have no discernable talent. I’d tried to learn how to play the piano once, but I was unbelievably bad at it. There are like Chimpanzee’s out there that can play chopsticks better than me," Katie replied shaking her head dismally. "I’ve got scars," she continued smiling. "Jessie’s great though," she continued warming to the subject. "Hearing her sing ‘Bless the Child’ was like out of this world … no solar system," she went on grinning. "Pluto was all like ‘hey come back here!’"
Judy started laughing, mumbling to Karen how she ‘loved this kid’ before shaking her head. Katie grinned at Judy sensing that she would be an easier audience than Karen.
"You’re easy," Katie responded settling more comfortably against the counter. "And you haven’t even seen what I can do with a simple ping pong ball and candle."
"So what do you like to do?" Karen asked drawing Katie’s attention back to her. She didn’t know what the girl meant by that last comment but it sounded dirty.
"You mean like interests?" Katie inquired. Karen nodded finishing up with the coffee and turning around to devote her full attention to Katie. "Um, I guess I like gardening," she responded though she didn’t seem too sure about that. "And drawing," she continued, confident this time as she located something that she liked that wasn’t totally lame. "You know, art."
"Do you have any work with you?" Judy asked perking up after tuning out expecting a conversation about fertilizer.
"Ah, yeah," Katie said reaching down for her satchel and pulling out a small folder. Opening it up she flipped through a few pages, and then pulled out a couple loose sheets of paper. "Sketching isn’t really my strong suit, I’m better with paints you know. But … well, there it is," she continued as she spread them across the counter and the two adults bent over the counter to look at the drawings. "That one’s Jessie," she added a moment later pointing to the picture furthest to the left.
Karen stared at the pictures, really quite impressed by the work. Katie may not have had a gift for music but she certainly had one for art. Hearing her addition, she turned her head to where the girl was pointing and saw the picture in question. It showed Jessie sitting on a bench, laughing at something as she looked off slightly into the distance. It was a beautiful sketch, playful and wistful, but also deeply reverent.
Karen looked up at Katie after that, staring at her for a moment as the deep emotion that had to have been poured into drawing that picture struck her.
"It’s beautiful," she said softly, removing her eyes when she saw Katie start to shift under her gaze.
"You can have it," Katie said a bit unnerved by Karen’s gaze. "If you want. I mean you see her like every day so you probably don’t need a stupid sketch of her, but …"
"Thank you," Karen interjected cutting off Katie’s babble. "That’s very nice of you. It really is a beautiful drawing."
"Oh, well I had a good subject," Katie replied a dreamy smile spreading across her face before she realized what she must look like and stopped, really wishing that this was one of the times she had opted for meaningful silence, as both Karen and Judy looked over at her. "I mean that bench is just gorgeous."
They were all silent for a moment, and then Judy started laughing. "I love this kid," she said repeating her earlier sentiment. "What do you think of the new DKNY line?" Judy asked a minute later drawing Katie’s attention away from Karen who was still looking at her.
"Skirts could be shorter," Katie replied absently, turning her head as she heard footsteps coming down the stairs, and while simultaneously thanking the lord for soon rescuing her.
"Hey Judy, how you doing? Had a nice day? That’s great," Jessie said blowing into the room and stopping next to Katie. "Dad says tomorrow at 5, new shoes mom? Let’s go," she finished taking Katie’s hand and dragging her – as much as she could drag her statuesque girlfriend – up the stairs.
Judy and Karen were silent as the girls took off up the stairs then turned to look at each other for a moment, and then Judy burst out laughing. "Oh my god," she said doubling over. "That was …" she continued noting that Karen couldn’t help but let out a small smile too, "too cute."
"Is your mom on some new medication or something?" Katie asked wandering to the side of Jessie’s room and fingering her solar system model.
"Unfortunately not," Jessie replied with a sigh. "She knows."
"Knows what?" Katie asked turning around to face her.
"About us," Jessie replied flopping back on her bed. "She’s trying to act like she’s cool with it, hence the weird. Next time you see her she’ll probably threaten you with a shotgun, ‘get away from my daughter’," she finished in an exaggerated southern accent.
"I’ve never been threatened with shotgun violence before," Katie said sitting on the edge of Jessie’s bed. "Little Katie’s all grown up now," she continued with a smile. "Besides your moms pretty cool. Stares a lot but she’s pretty cool," she continued pausing for a moment before adding. "Plus she’s kinda hot."
Katie turned her head to face Jessie having felt the bed shift, only to find the other girl looking at her with an absolutely aghast look on her face, which was soon replaced by a look of pure and utter evil as she stared at her girlfriend. Katie gulped, she had thought that was funny, but she was coming to realize that it really, really wasn’t.
"Did I mention that I did a lot of drugs in the washroom before we left school?" Katie asked shifting uncomfortably under Jessie’s stare. Damn, was it just her or was it getting hot in there. "Did you know," she continued smoothing her hands out on her pants, "that dogs snore? How crazy is that?"
Jessie merely continued to stare at her. God, Katie thought to herself, humans had to blink didn’t they. Why wasn’t Jessie blinking?
"Um," she said searching for conversation. "When I was a baby I used to be able to stick my whole leg in my mouth. I thought that was a bit strange, but mom says its cause the Singers come from a long line of circus people," she continued chancing a glance over at Jessie whose jaw seemed to have unclamped a bit, and who actually blinked. That’s good, Katie thought to herself, keep acting like as ass. "And ah, last night I dreamt that I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up my pillow was gone."
There was a moment of silence then Jessie reached behind her picking up her pillow hitting Katie over the head with it. "Shut up, it was not!"
"Alright, that was lie. But the baby and dog things were true," Katie admitted crawling across the bed to Jessie. "I am I forgiven?" she asked lying her head down in Jessie’s lap looking up at her innocently.
Before Jessie could respond however there was a knock at her door and Karen walked in, her eyes immediately going to the quaint little scene on the bed. "Ah, Judy’s taking me to the grocery store, do you need anything in particular?"
"Nothing," Jessie replied staring at her mother very aware of Katie’s head, which was still in her lap as the girl picked at the helm of her shirt.
"Marshmallows," Katie whispered, drawing Jessie’s eyes down to her for a moment.
"Quit it," Jessie whispered back, but still loud enough that her mother could hear, as she involuntarily smiled at the comment.
"Is that a yes or a no to marshmallows?" Karen asked wearing a smile of her own. Judy was right; they really were extremely adorable together.
"A no," Jessie responded smiling back before her eyes drifted around the room wondering why Karen was still looking at them. "We’re good."
"All right, try not to get into any trouble when we’re gone," Karen replied starting to shut the door.
"What about rule number three?" Jessie called out while simultaneously wondering what could possibly have possessed her to ask the question.
Karen paused for a moment regarding the two of them once more before finally replying, "Gift horse. Mouth, Jessie," upon which she finished backing out of the door and closed it behind her.
"So is this when we strip naked and take pictures of each others buttocks?" Katie asked once the door closed. Jessie looked down at her sternly. "Oh, I remember this game. Okay…um, did you know that you have to water cactuses? I mean how wild is that?"
Manning House – One week later
Jessie slowly crept down the hallway as quietly as she could, taking extra caution to be especially quiet as she passed by everyone’s room on her way to the staircase. It was just past one in the morning and if she knew Katie the girl was already outside waiting for her. It had been a crazy week for both of them and they’d hardly been able to spend anytime together outside of school, and school didn’t really count because they were never really alone or could never really relax. There was always someone passing by with something to say, or a class to run off to, so when Katie had suggested that they sneak out and watch the meteor shower that was predicted for that night, she had agreed almost without any hesitation. Almost, after all she was still her mother’s daughter, and as such rule breaking always caused her some minor heart palpitations though they generally passed.
"Billie!" Katie whispered happily as Jessie opened the back door, flying into the kitchen and wrapping her arms around Jessie.
"Sssh," Jessie said putting her fingers on Katie’s lips to quite her. "Eli," she continued having heard her brother moving around his room as she passed by the door to the garage. Katie nodded and drew two fingers across her lips making a tossing motion. Jessie smiled and leaned up kissing her quickly before grabbing her hand and leading her out the door, not stopping to look back.
Rick rubbed at his eyes tiredly barely avoiding banging into a wall as he stumbled into the kitchen. Using the counter to steady himself, he slowly made his way to the fridge, opening it up and taking out a pitcher of water. However, as he reached for a glass he felt a slight draft and turned around to look at the back door. Making his way around the counter he padded over to the door to see it slightly ajar. One of the kid’s shoes, Zoë’s from the size of it had caught in between the frame and door. He frowned to himself as he considered this, turning around slowly. He was the last one downstairs and he had locked the door himself before heading up to bed. Now, fully alert he reached above the stove grabbing a frying pan as he passed into the living room. Moving very carefully, he slowly checked all of the downstairs rooms then made his way upstairs.
Lowering the frying pan, he headed for the door to his bedroom. Nobody was in the house, which only meant one thing; one of the people who was suppose to be there was missing.
"You’re not serious, are you?" Jessie asked rolling over, so that her arms were braced on the sides of Katie’s body and she was leaning over the other girl. Rumpling the blanket they were lying on along the way, but really not caring in the least.
"I am so," Katie responded with an exaggerated importance. "I mean really, think about it, it’s the perfect topic for a history paper. A hearty tribute to a natural phenomenon that has benefited mankind from the beginning of time yet is constantly taken for granted. I can’t be the only person that’s tired of hearing everyone go on and on about electricity, and nuclear power, and the printing press. I think it’s high time that somebody gave gravity its props. Said, ‘Hooray for Gravity’ even. I plan to be that person."
"Hooray for Gravity?" Jessie questioned shaking her head slightly before lowering it down to rest on Katie’s chest. "Why don’t you just say that you’re writing a commentary on consumer culture and call it ‘Snap in to a Slim Jim!’?" she continued derisively. Hooray for gravity, indeed.
"Snap in to a Slim Jim," Katie repeated thoughtfully as she wrapped her arms around Jessie’s waist, tracing her back with small, careless circles. "You’d have to help me with that one though, it sounds a bit complicated," she went on with a smile.
"What happened to the meteor shower?" Jessie asked choosing not to dignify Katie’s comment with a response.
"What meteor shower?" Katie asked as if Jessie had just asked her if she’d seen a talking dog walk by.
"The meteor shower you said we came out here to watch," Jessie replied raising her head up and looking at Katie keenly. "Oh my god," she said a moment later fixing her with a stern look that quickly dissolved into a grin. "You brought me out here to have your way with me."
Katie smirked, looking away guiltily before turning back to look up a Jessie. "Next time I’m going to have to produce a meteorological report from a reputable news source aren’t I?" she asked smiling softly.
"Two," Jessie replied seriously, before leaning down to kiss Katie softly, pulling back a moment later with a dreamy smile on her face as she lay her head back down.
"So does this mean your not going to help me snap into a Slim Jim?" Katie asked, but before she could continue Jessie’s lips were on hers, and she suddenly found much better things to do with her tongue.
"The back door was open," Rick said as Lily pulled on her robe. "I know I locked it before I came up, and I checked the house and nobody was here. One of the kids has snuck out, it’s the only explanation."
"Alright," Lily said her voice still blurry with sleep. "You go downstairs to see if Eli’s there, and I’ll check on Grace and Zoë, then we’ll head up to the attic."
"Sounds good to me," Rick replied, thinking smugly that Grace was going to be in a lot of trouble when her mother found out she wasn’t there.
"Hey," Katie said softly, gently shaking Jessie’s shoulder. The other girl had fallen asleep on her an hour ago, but she hadn’t minded, in fact she’d loved just lying there getting to hold her while she was asleep. "We’ve gotta get back," she continued seeing Jessie blink up at her sleepily.
"What time is it?" Jessie asked lifting her head off of Katie and rolling onto the other side of the blanket.
"Almost five," Katie replied sitting up. She’s felt like kicking herself when she’d checked her watch a minute ago, they’d planned on being back way before this. "I guess we lost track of the time."
"That just leaves Jessie," Lily said meeting Rick at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the attic. She’d checked to find both Grace and Zoë sleeping soundly, and Rick had reported that Eli had actually been in his room for once, which meant that the youngest Sammler was the only one left to check on.
"Sssssshhhhhhhh," Jessie whispered loudly as she pushed the door open and Katie grabbed her around the waist laughing. "Sssssh," she said again laughing herself now as Katie bit her lip in an exaggerated attempt to look like she was trying to be quiet. Jessie smiled up at her thinking that she had never seen a more adorable face in her life and leaned up pressing their lips together.
Rick’s hand twitched as he heard his daughter enter the house, telling whoever she was with to be quiet, then he lifted his hand and flicked on the lights to the kitchen half a tirade already out of his mouth.
"Where the hell have you be …" he said stopping as he got his first look at the scene in front of him. "…en?" he finished saying, his voice barely audible as he watched Jessie rip her lips off of Katie’s as she twirled around to look at him and Lily.
Jessie opened her mouth to answer, still uncomfortably aware of the taste of Katie’s mouth and proximity of her body, but no sound came out. Instead she merely stood there gaping at her father and Lily, her mind completely and utterly blank.
"Maybe I should just take Katie home?" Lily suggested breaking the silence that had descended upon the kitchen the moment the lights had been turned on. It had been over a minute and nobody had said a thing since Rick stopped talking.
"Go to your room," Rick said softly the moment the backdoor shut behind Lily and Katie.
"Dad," Jessie started carefully, but before she could get out anything more Rick interrupted her.
"Go. To. Your room, Jessie," Rick repeated his tone dull, but leaving no room for argument. This was not a request, it was an order and Jessie knew it. Sighing softly, Jessie dropped her head down and headed towards the stairs.
Hearing Jessie’s feet dejectedly slumping up the stairs Rick took a deep breath, possibly his first since he turned on the light, and sighed running an agitated hand through his hair. He had not expected to see that. Not in a million years had he expected to see that.
Taking a few steps forward he dropped down onto the couch, bringing his hand up to his face, rubbing it over his features before allowing his hand to drop back into his lap. He had not expected to see that. Not in a million years had he expected to see that.
Manning House – The Next Morning
Grace stomped into the living room exceeding pissed off as she checked her watch one more time. "Oh my god Jessie, I swear if you don’t get your ass down here like ten minutes ago I am so outta here," she bellowed in the general direction of the stairs. She had wanted to get to class early because Mr. Dimitri had been acting strangely around her for the last couple of classes and she just had to know why. "Jessie!" she yelled again as Jessie’s blonde head finally became visible at the top of the stairs as she came running down, flinging her bag around her neck as she went.
"God," Grace said getting a good look at the girl for the first time as she headed towards her. It looked like Death had visited her in the middle of the night and beat her with a big stick. "You really should lay off the drinking and the whoring," Grace said as Jessie approached her. "It’s aging you," she continued waving her hand in front of Jessie’s face.
"That’s funny," Jessie muttered under her breath coming to a stop beside Grace. "I thought you were in a hurry?"
"Right," Grace said her mind back on track after commenting on the train wreck that was Jessie. "Come on," she said grabbing the girl by her shirt and tugging her into the kitchen.
"Jessie," Lily called out as Grace continued to drag a worryingly passive Jessie towards the door.
Jessie paused upon hearing her stepmothers voice, her body going rigid and finally resisting Grace’s pull. She had been waiting for this since her father had sent her up to her room the night before. This had to be where the yelling and the head shaking came in, and she was both terrified and relieved that the moment was finally at hand. She just wanted to get this over and done with. Taking a deep breath she slowly pivoted until she came to face Lily. "Yeah?"
"Here," Lily said tossing her a brown paper bag, which Jessie just barely caught before it hit her in the face.
"Thanks?" Jessie responded uncertainly looking at Lily completely stupefied. She hadn’t been expecting lunch. But before she could say anything else Grace was dragging her once more, towards and then out the door.
"I’m glad you called, I wanted to confirm that you’d pick Jessie up from school and I’d get her from the house, I’m trying to…" Karen started to say as soon as she heard her ex-husbands voice on the other end of the phone, but she was interrupted before she could continue.
"Yeah, yeah, that’s fine, but that’s not why I called," Rick said dismissively as he paced around his office whipping the phone cord around with him as he walked. "We need to talk about Jessie."
"Okay," Karen said slowly, leaning back in her chair. She could tell that Rick was upset about something, in his own quiet voiced, passive aggressive way. "What’s wrong?"
"She …" Rick began trying to gather his scattered thoughts. "She snuck out last night ... with that girl. Right in the middle of the night, didn’t get back until nearly dawn. This girl is clearly a bad influence…"
"Girl?" Karen asked interrupting his tirade. "Katie?"
"Yeah," Rick replied his voice slightly agitated. "I mean, god knows what they were doing, I have no idea how long she was gone for! What could they have been doing for that long?" he continued knowing that considering the time he had locked the door and the time they had come back in that they could’ve been gone for over three hours, and he didn’t even want to contemplate what and where they may have been doing things.
"What did Jessie say?" Karen asked frowning slightly. She was upset herself about what Rick was telling her, but he seemed to be agitated enough for both of them leaving her as the voice of reason.
"What?" Rick asked, Karen’s voice dragging him out of his thoughts – for which he was eternally grateful.
"Well, you talked to her when she came in didn’t you?" Karen asked trying not to get upset about Rick’s spaciness and borderline hysteria. "What did she say about it?"
"She …" Rick started to answer in a perturbed tone, "I didn’t really get a chance to… I mean there were other things to consider …"
"Your daughter snuck out in the middle of the night, what other things were there to consider?" Karen asked a bit irritably.
"I don’t know, maybe the fact that she was kissing her best friend?" Rick snapped back, instantly regretting it. He shouldn’t have broken the news to Karen like that, he thought shaking his head, he should have taken the time to explain what happened but Karen always knew how to push his buttons. And, now he’d gone and done it, she was going to be devastated by this.
"Oh," Karen replied lightly. "Well what did she say about that?"
"Oh?" Rick asked staring at the base of the phone incredulously as if it were Karen’s face. "Oh? All you have to say about it is ‘oh’?"
"No," Karen replied with a sigh. "I did also ask what she said about it."
Rick paused for a second considering his ex-wife’s response before continuing. "You’re not the least bit … shocked by this?" he asked unable to understand how she could be taking this so calmly. He knew Karen and this was not something that she would take lightly.
"About Jessie and Katie?" Karen replied debating about whether or not she should tell him that she already knew and deal with the inevitable blow out that would ensue, or whether she should just let things alone and let him take what he wanted from her response. "No, not really."
"Did you know about them, before this?" Rick asked slouching down into his chair rubbing at his forehead. He was getting a headache, and depending on how Karen answered he was about to blow his top.
"I had an idea, yes," Karen replied carefully. "The signs were all there."
"And, what? I just wasn’t paying attention?" Rick asked heatedly sitting up straight in his chair.
"I didn’t say that," Karen sighed rolling her head to the side tiredly. "Does this mean you didn’t ask her where she was?"
"No, I didn’t ask where she was," Rick responded rolling his eyes. "Listen," he said getting his act together. "Would you mind just coming by an hour or so later? I’d like to talk to her when she gets home."
"Alright," Karen said emphasizing with what Rick was going through now having been there herself not to long ago. "That’ll be fine. That’s fine."
"Okay, thanks," Rick said getting ready to hang up, before Karen interrupted before he could place the receiver down.
"Rick, just…" she started to say softly, her tone almost pleading with him to be careful about this.
"I know," he said realizing where she was going and cutting her off before she could continue. Jessie was his daughter too, and he didn’t intend to attack her or in any other way berate her for whatever she had with Katie. He just wanted a chance to try and understand it. "I’ll see you later."
Katie let out a relieved sigh as she saw Jessie approaching her from across the schoolyard. It was almost time for class to start and when she hadn’t seen the other girl she began to wonder just how much trouble she had gotten her into. "Billie," she greeted clearly relieved, "hey, I thought you’d found out where they buried Hoffa."
"Can I talk to you?" Jessie said barely glancing at the small group of people loosely gathered around her girlfriend. She really wasn’t in the mood for small talk. "In private."
"Yeah," Katie said some of her enthusiasm at finally seeing Jessie disappearing now that she had gotten a good look at her. That was not a happy face. Her hangdog response was followed by a series of "ooohs" and "what’s that? Burn" and various other commentaries before she shot them all disgruntled looks and walked off with Jessie.
"I’m sorry," Katie, sighed once they got out of ear shot from her friends, her head dropping down miserably. "I swear I wouldn’t have taken you out if I thought we’d get caught."
"There’s nothing for you to be sorry about," Jessie replied softly, taking Katie’s hand into hers and squeezing it softly as she looked over at her.
"Get a room! Preferably mine," Bob Brooks yelled from a nearby bench high five-ing his buddies as he tracked the two of them lecherously. There were other out girls on campus, but none of them came close to the hotness that was Katie and her girl.
"Get a life, preferably one without a blow up hole," Katie called back irritably flipping him the bird as they walked by, which was met by his buddies laughing at him and making ‘ouchy’ faces turning away.
"We love you Katie!" One of them called after her to which she turned around and curtsied to graciously to before continuing on her way.
"Sorry about that," Katie said once again returning her attention to Jessie.
"You don’t have to apologize for that either," Jessie said frowning at the memory of the last guy tracking Katie’s ass as they had walked off.
"So, how much trouble did you get in?" Katie asked almost dreading the answer. Her ride home with Lily had been like the worst, most awkward experience ever. They hadn’t said like one word to each other, the only interaction between them being Lily’s sideways glances at her like every other second. She’d been convinced they were going to crash into a telephone pole or something. She loathed finding out how it must have been for Jessie.
"Don’t know yet," Jessie responded softly. "I got ‘go to your room’ on auto repeat," she continued remembering her dad’s expression. "How did your dad react?"
"He bought some riverfront property on denial and has been resting there comfortably for the last year," Katie responded with a sigh. "Mom said she always suspected cause I was a little flamer always sneaking into the change rooms in the lingerie department, but she’s so vacant that…" Katie stopped not wanting to go down that road. "Anyway, dad still thinks I loved Wonder Woman cause of the great writing and set design, and that’s the way he likes it," Katie continued her tone melancholy despite the humor she tried to inject into her response. The truth was that it wasn’t something that was talked about in her house. Except for the initial blow out that night her parents had found her and Sarah making out, they never brought it up or referred to it. Even though she knew they knew otherwise, Jessie was still merely referred to as her ‘good friend’. "Rick?" she then prompted breaking the silence. She’d made some kind of peace with her situation, now Jessie had to.
"You should’ve seen his face," Jessie said a moment later, unconsciously drifting closer to Katie. "It was just … it was just sad."
"And he didn’t say anything to you other than ‘go to your room’?" Katie asked reaching down for Jessie’s hand again having felt her girlfriend shift closer to her.
"No," Jessie said. "What does that mean? That he couldn’t even talk to me."
"This is going to sound strange, but I think that maybe it’s a good thing," Katie replied using her thumb to rub Jessie’s hand. "I mean it had to have been a shock for him … to say the least. But, you know, even though he was probably freaked as all hell he didn’t lose his shit or anything," she continued thoughtfully. "Sounds to me like he just needed some time to … what’s that word … yeah, ruminate. He just needs some time to ruminate over it all."
"And once he’s both rummed and nated?" Jessie asked glumly.
"You’re probably going to get grounded," Katie replied seriously. "Cause once he gets over the whole kissing thing, he’s going to remember that we didn’t get back until five. Then you’re going to get grounded."
"You think?" Jessie asked hoping that that would be all there was to it. Her mom had just started being normal about everything again, even suggesting that she invite Katie over the nights she went to her book club, so she wasn’t really looking forward to another awkward home experience.
"Yeah, but don’t worry I’ll pelt rocks at your window like in that Swedish movie so that you know that I love you. Even though you’re a hooligan," Katie replied smiling over at Jessie.
"You say the sweetest things," Jessie replied rolling her eyes but grinning at Katie warmly nonetheless as her girlfriend pulled her into a quick hug. The day may not have started out so well, but at least there was some sunshine, and since it was shining directly on her that was all that she needed.
Jessie lowered herself onto the bed shifting around uncomfortably for a moment before deciding that she was only putting off the inevitable and looking up at her father and Lily who were standing just inside the door to their bedroom.
Grace walked into the kitchen picking an apple up off of the counter as she glanced over to the side to see Zoë eating peanut butter out of the container with a spoon.
"What do you think you’re doing?" Grace asked taking the spoon away from the child with a disgruntled look. "The rest of us eat that stuff too, and we don’t want your cooties."
"There’s no such thing as cooties," Zoë said condescendingly looking over at Grace.
"Where’s mom," Grace asked not really wanting to have to police the little brat.
"Upstairs with Rick and Jessie," Zoë replied going to get another spoon. "She says they’re having a serious talk and are not to be disturbed."
"What are they talking about," Grace asked intrigued at the possibility of new gossip, especially if it involved Jessie in any way, shape, or form.
"Jessie snuck out last night, and now she’s in BIG trouble," Zoë responded. She’d managed to follow them for a little while before they got into the bedroom and had heard that much, but then her mom had noticed her and shooed her away.
"Really?" Grace asked turning towards the stairs. "Hmmm."
"…And what you did is completely unacceptable," Rick continued pacing around in front of the bed. "Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to be wandering around the streets at night? How worried we were that you were dead or worse?" he continued looking over at Jessie sharply.
"We were only ten minutes away," Jessie began but Rick interrupted her not wanting to hear any of that.
"It doesn’t matter where you went, you shouldn’t have been anywhere but in bed in the safety of our house. What you did was … was unacceptable," he repeated again getting himself all flustered and worked up. "You are not to see her…"
Jessie leapt off the bed as she heard this, her face filled with rebellious fire. "You can’t stop me from seeing her!" she fired out immediately interrupting the rest of her father speech. "I don’t care if you don’t like it, it’s not your life, it’s mine. And I LOVE her! And you can tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, cause I DO know what I’m talking about, and you can’t keep me away from her," she continued blinking back tears as she mentally debated whether she should threaten them with running away and selling her ass on the street. However, before she could decide Rick cut back in finishing his previous statement.
"…see her or anyone else until further notice, because you are SO grounded," he went on, seeing Jessie pout but return to her sitting position on the bed. "As for Katie," he continued his voice lowering again to a reasonable tone, "I know I can’t stop you from seeing her. I don’t want to stop you from seeing her. But..."
Jessie sighed loudly and irritably at the use of the word ‘but’ but otherwise remained silent.
"Since you are seeing her," Rick continued ignoring Jessie’s exhalation, "I’d like to get to know her a bit better. Plus, the two of us need to talk."
"You don’t need to talk," Jessie said shaking her head vehemently. There were to be no more talks. "She’s had the talk. She’s been threatened with shovels and other blunt objects already. Mom gave her the talk, she gave it to her for like twenty minutes," Jessie continued sighing at the memory. "Katie was afraid to look at me afterwards. So you really don’t need to have the talk," she finished huffily.
"Karen had the talk with her?" Rick asked surprised. Karen had led him to believe that she hadn’t had any concrete knowledge of Jessie’s relationship with Katie, just a suspicion. Finding out otherwise didn’t please him, not only did it mean she was keeping things from him about his own daughter, but that she had taken away a father’s prerogative. It was tradition that the dad threatens whatever boy was trying to get into his daughters pants by pretending in being interested in dating her. Katie was certainly not a boy, but he had a speech ready dammit, and he’d wanted to use it.
"Yes!" Jessie exclaimed. "And she had it with me too. A long talk. A long detailed talk," she continued shivering at the memory. People who loved people may have been the luckiest people in the world, but people who had to talk about the exact details of their loving other people with their mothers were doomed to have many sleepless nights. "And no we haven’t. Can I go now?"
Rick nodded and Jessie gratefully jumped off of the bed heading for the door.
"Remember you’re…" Rick started to call after her.
"Grounded, I know," Jessie grumbled her footsteps slowing until she was actually slumping out of the door.
Rick sat down on the bed looking slightly dazed as soon as Jessie was out of the room. Lily sat down beside him placing a hand on his shoulder causing him to jump slightly. She’d been so quiet during the talk he’d forgotten she was there.
"Who would have thought both of them would end up liking girls?" Lily asked shaking her head at the thought of the odds of both of their daughters ending up being gay.
Rick looked over at her, his expression clearly showing that he was not in the mood to be philosophical about it.
"Don’t worry. You’ll deal with it. In fact once you get acclimated to the idea, you’ll see that same-sex love is a beautiful thing," Lily commented thinking about the journey she had undertaken when she had first become aware of Grace’s gayness, and how she had come to be proud of her daughter and couldn’t wait until they could hold signs together and wear matching humorous T-Shirts. She had even started taping Rosie just to lend her support to the cause. "I just wish that Grace could find a nice girl like Katie," Lily continued with a sigh.
"Katie’s a hoodlum," Rick grumbled in response, not having been paying the least bit of attention to Lily until she mentioned the girl’s name.
"She’s not a hoodlum," Lily responded rolling her eyes. Over all the times that Katie had been over at their house, Lily had managed to talk to the girl quite a bit and she was a very nice girl. She was sweet, and funny and outgoing, and as far as Lily was concerned just the kind of girl that Jessie needed.
"She probably does drugs," Rick, continued oblivious to Lily’s presence.
"She doesn’t do drugs," Lily responded looking over at him incredulously.
"What do you know?" Rick asked grumpily. "You thought Jessie was heterosexual and I had nothing to worry about."
At this Lily stood up and began to head to the door to go and see if Grace had gotten home yet. There was no use talking to Rick when he got like this.
"She probably sells drugs and that’s what they were doing out so late," Rick called after her, but Lily continued out the door ignoring him.
Katie’s House - Two weeks later (a.k.a. Jessie’s first night of freedom)
"When are your parents coming home?" Jessie asked as she curled up against Katie’s side. They were in Katie’s bedroom, lying down on her bed watching Gladiator, Jessie was convinced, for no other reason other than the hotness of Connie Neilson.
"Late," Katie replied pressing a kiss to Jessie’s forehead. "That new medicine they’ve got mom on is really making an improvement and they went to celebrate. Which mean have wild, loud sex in a classy motel … which is code for ones with specialty rooms," Katie continued. She didn’t often talk about her mom’s depression because she didn’t really know what to say about it, other than that it really sucked and was hard, but she knew that no matter what she said around Jessie it’d be okay, because she had gone through the same thing with her mom.
"Okay, ewwww," Jessie responded making a face at the thought of anyone their parents age having sex.
"I know which is why they went to a motel, to spare me the emotional distress of hearing through the walls. And really, I thank them for that," Katie replied before getting distracted by the feel of Jessie’s hand moving on her stomach, where it had been resting, and starting to slip underneath the material.
Katie took in a sharp breath as she then felt Jessie’s hand begin to move on the bare skin of her stomach, taking a deep breath to try and calm her breathing which was becoming rapidly erratic. As Jessie’s hand continued move across her skin, she began to feel herself flush with warmth. "Wha…what are you doing?" Katie asked her mind beginning to flood with very naughty thoughts.
Jessie’s hand stilled and she looked up at Katie nervously. "Do you want me to stop?" she asked softly.
"No," Katie responded immediately. "But I have to admit, I’m not exactly thinking clearly at the moment," she continued as she felt her head start to spin.
"You’re not?" Jessie asked pushing against her more tightly though she kept her hand still.
"Nnn…oo," Katie replied shivering at the feel of Jessie so close to her.
"Is that good thing or a bad thing?" Jessie asked already knowing the answer, but wanting an excuse to stay pressed up against Katie.
"It certainly feels like good thing," Katie exhaled softly smiling, the smile fading to be replaced by another gasp as Jessie started to move her hand again. This time tentatively pushing up the material of Katie’s shirt to reveal her abdomen. She stared down at the pale skin, lightly moving up and down, before lowering her head so that it was bent over Katie’s stomach. Then she closed the remaining distance between her lips and Katie’s stomach, planting small, wet kisses all over the skin, then leaning back slightly and blowing on the skin, watching as little goose bumps appeared all over. At this Katie felt a surge of electricity shot straight through her, apparently intent on settling in her groin and promptly jumped off of the bed, pacing around agitatedly as she pulled down her shirt.
"You can’t. I’m mean you can’t just do and…and…and…and do …THAT…and…and …and…and," Katie began in a flustered voice not able to say anything coherent, as those feeling kept shooting through her body making thought very, very difficult.
"I thought you liked it," Jessie said softly, not quite sure what to make of Katie’s response, and wishing she hadn’t done anything because of it.
"I did, I do," Katie said walking back over to the bed realizing that she was freaking Jessie out. "I like it a lot, too much. Definitely too much. Like I really liked it…like liked it a lot," she went on both wanting to think about how much she liked it, and fearing that thinking about liking it would get her all worked up again now that she was just starting to calm down.
"Then why did you … you know, run away?" Jessie asked wanting to believe Katie, but having insecurities jump up in her face making it harder than it should’ve been to actually accept what she was saying.
"Because," Katie said standing up again and pacing once more. "Because touching like that leads to stuff … naked stuff. Naked … sweaty stuff," she continued her voice lowering slowly as she spoke. "Naked sweaty stuff on the bed…"
"I get it," Jessie interrupted blushing as images of what Katie was describing came to her, making her shift suddenly feeling a bit warm.
"Yeah, so," Katie responded snapping out of it and carefully lying back down on the bed. "This way, the no stuff way … is good," she continued as her head came to rest against the pillow. Jessie nodded tentatively shifting back towards Katie, then snuggling in once more when her girlfriend made no effort to move.
"Do you not want," Jessie started a moment later, "to do stuff. With me?" she asked softly.
"Of course I do," Katie replied wondering immediately if she should’ve taken a moment to make sure she didn’t sound like an undersexed 14-year-old boy looking at his Seven of Nine poster. "I just…I mean, I didn’t know if you wanted to yet, and I didn’t want to make it seem like, well you know, make you feel like just because I wanted to, you had to want to … too. Because I don’t want anything…"
"That I don’t want," Jessie finished for her lifting her head to look at Katie. "I wasn’t trying to get you worked up," she continued a moment later. "I just … sometimes I just get this need to touch you and …"
"It’s okay," Katie said interrupting her, knowing that Jessie wasn’t ready to go any farther yet. It was fine with her; she probably really wasn’t ready for it either, hormones were just tricky bastards. "You’re not ready, that’s fine."
Jessie sighed in response to Katie’s statement and rolled away from her flipping onto her back on the other side of the bed. She knew that Katie was ready to move on to the next step, that sometimes when they were together Katie literally had to stop herself from touching Jessie to keep things under control. And she wanted to be ready to move on too, she’d thought about it, taking things to the next step, but she just knew that she wasn’t ready to do more than think about it and that upset her because she knew that she couldn’t give Katie something she wanted, maybe even needed.
"On TV everyone always says its alright, but then you always find them making out in the janitors closet with some hoochie who *will* give it up," Jessie moaned closing her eyes dejectedly, thinking that this is what you get for dating a stupid sophomore.
Katie rolled over so that she was leaning over Jessie with her arms braced on the sides of the girl’s body, and looked up at her very seriously and said, "that’s not going to happen. They lock the janitor’s closets at our school."
Jessie looked down at her face and couldn’t help but smile at the expression Katie was wearing before she turned her head away self- consciously.
"Seriously though. That’s not gonna happen. I love you. And even though everyone on TV might be a lying bastard, I’m not. You’re the only girl for me," Katie continued with absolute seriousness this time. Jessie looked down at Katie meeting her gaze for a few moments after this, the eye contact between them only breaking when Katie leaned up and kissed her softly.
Her girlfriend then rolled off of her on back onto her side of the bed. "So um, we probably shouldn’t watch ‘Bound’ next."