"About a Girl"

Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me; I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
Show: Once and Again
Pairing: Jessie/Katie
Rating: PG
Author: Janine
Synopsis: What happens to girl�s after their kiss in Jessie�s room?
Email:
jbslayer27@yahoo.com

| Ch 1-5 | Ch 6-10 | Ch 11-15 | Ch 16-20 | Ch 21-25 | Ch 26-End |

Part 21

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"So what was with the receiver off the hook last night, Singer?" Tad asked nudging Katie lecherously as he grinned over at her. He�d been fairly pissed off at her for a couple of days, and then unimpressed with her for a couple more days, but after she�d come over to his house giving him the puppy dog eyes, things had pretty much gone back to normal. In fact as he asked this, she was dismounting from his back after the piggyback ride he�d just given her through the hallways. He figured that he had no chance with Jessie so he could as well live vicariously through his friend.

"Shut up Tad," Katie responded slapping him on the shoulder, though she was smiling widely.

"Sup?" Russell asked coming up behind them wrapping his arm around Katie�s neck playfully. Katie yanked off his hat and pulled it over her head, nodding at him with a slight pout on her lips, completely thugged out.

"Katie�s phone was off the hook last night, while Jessie was over and her parents were out," Tad responded grinning, smiling even brighter at the look of pure venom Katie shot him as Russell �oooooh�ed in her ear, using the opportunity to also steal his hat back.

"Hey," they heard from the side, all three of them turning to see Sarah Grasser standing beside them.

"What�d you want?" Tad asked contemptuously, standing up to his full height. He�d never liked Sarah much; she always acted like something had crawled up to ass to everyone but Katie. It had pissed him off, how she�d been able to dupe his friend for so long. Even now, Katie still isn�t insisted that she wasn�t always a complete bitch, but Tad knew better. Sarah was just letting Katie see it now too.

"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Sarah asked ignoring Tad and looking straight at Katie.

"I don�t know that we have anything to talk about," Katie replied as Russell and Tad glared at Sarah for her, allowing her to remain looking nonchalant.

"Please," Sarah said ignoring Katie�s entourage. "Just for a minute," she continued her voice slightly pleading.

"Fine," Katie said not really wanting to see her grovel in the middle of the hallway. "Over here," she said nodding to a quieter place down the hall.

"Desperate�s her colour don�t you think?" Russell asked as they watched to two girls make their way down the hall.

"Nah, I�d go with black, to match her soul," Tad replied smiling.

**

"Hey Sammler, you have GOT to call me," Brian Jones called out as Jessie and Grace made their way through the halls.

"Cool, I�ll pencil you in right after pigs fly," Jessie called back winking at him before pushing on.

"Nice," Grace commented, thinking that was a smoothly delivered comeback. She would have to give that one a grade of at least 9.7.

"You know what they say about practice," Jessie responded absently, shaking her head. They could at least try and come up with some original material.

"How often do you get that?" Grace asked thinking that while Jessie had always been able to hold her own in verbal sparring match, one-line zingers had never been her specialty.

"Oh, just about a million times everyday," Jessie, muttered rolling her eyes.

"Hmmm, soon you�ll be able to insult in a single bound," Grace commented, pleased to see Jessie smirk at the comment, but a little disoriented when she saw her stepsister�s face cloud over a second later. Turning her head to follow Jessie�s Grace saw Katie and Sarah Grasser standing off in a quiet corner just down the hallway.

Jessie took a step forwards as if she were going to head over but then stopped. It was ridiculous, she had a class to get to, and Katie could talk to whomever she wanted. She wasn�t going to be one of those jealous girlfriends who like video taped every move their significant other made. It was stupid.

"You�re not going over there?" Grace asked having seen Jessie�s move forward and then her abrupt stop.

"No," Jessie replied even though she really wanted to.

"Why? You obviously want to," Grace asked.

"Because I�m not going to give Sarah the satisfaction of knowing that she actually makes me jealous, so she can just take her conniving and suck on it REAL hard," Jessie muttered before turning down the hallway that led to her class leaving Grace alone to observe the scene. Grace shook her head in sympathy for the bitch fest that Katie was bound to be gobsmacked with later for her egregious break in dating etiquette then headed for her own class.

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"What is it?" Katie asked boredly leaning against a nearby locker as Sarah stopped in front of her looking down at her shoes doing her best humility impression.

"Do you have to be so hostile?" Sarah asked quietly looking up at Katie as she spoke.

"Just following your lead," Katie replied not looking at Sarah, knowing that if she did she�d feel bad for snapping at the girl even though she deserved it and not wanting that to happen. She�d tried, when she�d realized that she�d hurt Sarah, she�d tried to talk to her, tried to make her realize that they could still be friends even if everything else had to end, but Sarah hadn�t wanted to hear it, hadn�t been able to hear. She�d made Katie choose and then she�d gotten mad and bitchy when Katie chose Jessie. It was Sarah�s problem to deal with now, not hers. She�d tried.

"I deserve that," Sarah said with a sigh, glancing over at Katie.

"Yeah, you really do," Katie, replied, her stance loosening nonetheless now that she was fairly confident that they were about to have a civil conversation instead of the usual spitting contest.

"I�m sorry you know," Sarah said seeing Katie relax slightly. "About how I acted after � about how I acted. I was just hurt, and I know you didn�t mean to," she added quickly seeing Katie tense in preparation to respond. "Really I do. It�s just you know, sometimes teenage plus girl equals unimaginable bitch," she continued adding to herself that when you added love to the equation the bitch just got bigger. "I should�ve been happy for you, and I am. Now," she pushed on seeing Katie watching her with interest. "And you said, before that we could still we friends, and you know, if that offers still on the table I�d like to accept it this time. I miss you."

Katie looked at Sarah intensely for a moment before sighing and letting her gaze drift around the crowded hallway. After things had gone bad between them, she�d been filled with so much guilt, and she�d wished for so long that the day would come when Sarah would realize that she hadn�t meant any harm and they could just go back to the way things had been before. But that had been a wish she�d long since given up on, and now that she had heard the words she�d longed to hear for so long, she just felt sad, hollow. She realized she didn�t really care anymore, that while Sarah may have missed her she didn�t miss Sarah all that much. But, she also remembered when things had been good between them, fun. Sarah had never touched her deep down inside like Jessie did, she never felt Sarah�s presence with her even when she wasn�t around like she did Jessie, and they didn�t have that age old friendship that tied them together tighter than either of them realized like she did with Tad. Sarah was just fun, but fun had been really good.

"I don�t know," Katie said quietly her gaze drifting back to Sarah. "It�s not that I don�t want to be friends, it�s just that with everything that�s happened it�d be really complicated."

"And by complicated you mean Jessie doesn�t like me and if we start hanging out again she won�t let you in the ballpark let alone near any of her bases," Sarah replied darkly, having sensed Katie on the edge of giving her a chance.

"So we�re back to this are we?" Katie asked tiredly looking over at Sarah sadly. "I�d like to accept your offer, really I would. But I don�t believe you, and you�re not helping yourself with shit like that. Jessie�s my girlfriend, and I�m not going to risk hurting her by hanging out with you if all you�re gonna do is insult our relationship and piss and moan about how life done you wrong," Katie continued beginning to pick up speed. "Sometimes things don�t work out the way we want them to. Deal with it. You�re not special. You�re problems aren�t any more of a tragedy than anyone else�s," she went on pushing off the locker. "So yeah, we can be friends again � when you stop taking behavioral tips from you�re three year old sister," she finished starting down the hallway.

"Wait," Sarah said reaching out for her and grasping her around the arm stopping her from moving. "I�m sorry."

"Yeah, you keep saying that, and yet�" Katie replied removing Sarah�s hand from her arm.

"Please, just give me a chance," Sarah continued moving to stand in front of Katie looking up at her through her eyelashes as innocent as could be. "I promise, no more digs. Let�s just hang out, and if it�s cool then it�s cool, and if you find my company unbearable than I swear I won�t bug you again."

Katie looked over at Sarah�s pleading face, and sad hopeful eyes and sighed. The offer sounded reasonable, and it couldn�t really hurt anything. "Fine. What�d you have in mind?"

"How about a study session?" Sarah suggested trying to remain calm. She hadn�t expected Katie to give in so easily, but she was delighted that she had. Maybe Katie missed her to and was just too proud to admit it. "You help me with math, I�ll help you with geography and we can top off by making fun of Mauray Povich."

"Alright," Katie said brightening at the suggestion of Mauray Povich. Jessie refused to watch it with her, even though she insisted they would only watch to mock him endlessly. She had so much daytime TV hate bottled up and would now be able to release it constructively.

"Great. How about after school then?" Sarah asked. "I mean unless you already have plans," she continued uncertainly images of Jessie floating around her mind mocking her.

"After school�s fine," Katie responded. Jessie had a doctor�s appointment and was going out to dinner with her mom afterwards so they hadn�t made any plans. "I�ll drop by your locker. We can do it at my house, mom�s likely to be upstairs grouting something so we won�t have to worry about her."

"Cool, see you then," Sarah said backing up and turning around not wanting to stick around and give Katie a chance to change her mind.

"Yeah, later," Katie replied absently as Sarah headed off down the hallway, sighing once the girl was out of sight. She suddenly felt like someone had just strapped a medium sized planet to her back. Intellectually, she couldn�t see what was wrong with trying to get along with Sarah again; lord knew her life was easier when the other girl didn�t actively hate her. Yet, despite this line of reasoning, she couldn�t help but feel she�d just made a serious mistake. Sighing again she shook her head, there was nothing she could do about it now; she�d given Sarah her word, and it was only one night.

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Part 22

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"This is a surprise," Katie commented as Jessie came up behind her, wrapping an arm around her waist lightly before leaning up against a nearby locker. "Of the chocolate variety of course."

"Chocolate variety?" Jessie asked watching as Katie loaded up her backpack with a bunch of books Jessie was quite certain she had no intention of reading.

"Scrumptious," Katie replied finally closing her locker door and looking over at Jessie. "I thought you had your appointment today?" she said remembering Jessie�s dislike for the word �therapy� being mentioned in the public sphere. That was one of the things she loved about Jessie, how real she was. Most of the kids at school thought being in therapy and riddled with neurosis�s was some sort of badge of honor, mostly because they�d never had to go through anything that would make them have to go to therapy thus leaving them with the delusion that it was somehow romantic.

"I do," Jessie replied pushing off the locker. "Just thought I�d walk you out."

"That�s a thought I can definitely get behind," Katie replied with a small smile following Jessie down the hall.

"So, what�d you do last night?" Jessie asked trying to sound blas�.

Katie sighed shaking her head slightly before responding. "Sarah came by. She stopped me at school yesterday and was all, blah, blah, blah, regretcakes saying she was sorry about everything."

"And you believed her?" Jessie asked trying fight back the urge to grab Katie by the shoulders and shake some sense into her.

"Well, she�d certainly eaten her Bitch Flakes with frosting that morning, but she did seem sorry � and she just looked so pathetic. I just couldn�t tell her to get lost, it would�ve been like kicking a puppy," Katie tried to explain knowing from Jessie�s tone that she was upset, and not really blaming her for being so.

"Well, how was it?" Jessie asked somehow managing not to comment that Sarah always seemed more like a crazy, rabies infected dog than a cute little puppy. She certainly wouldn�t have had a problem kicking her; she probably would�ve liked it.

"It was alright I guess," Katie responded in a bored tone. "I mean it was kinda weird at first, cause I could tell that she was making a serious effort not to snap at me. But once we started working it was okay. I mean she�s so retarded, asking how angles could be obtuse," Katie continued her voice a little more animated know. "I�d forgotten what a knob she could be. And then when she went on about how every episode of Mauray is the same, it was so funny cause it�s like totally true. It�s always either boot camp or children with sad defects, and�" Katie went on until they exited the building and Jessie had to go meet her mother.

"Alright, see ya later," Katie said as Jessie opened the door to Karen�s car. "Hi, Ms. Sammler," she added waving at Karen who smiled and waved back at her.

"Yeah," Jessie responded smiling weakly, then ducking into the car. If she�d been assaulted by one more verse of Katie�s ode to Sarah she didn�t know what she would�ve done. God, she loathed that girl.

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Two Weeks Later

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"Do I look like Gumby?" Jessie bitched at Grace from across the kitchen table. "Does my arm look like it�s made out of some incredible stretching material that can zoom across the kitchen and pick up a bagel so that you don�t have to get off your lazy ass?" she continued crankily swishing her cereal around in the bowl.

"What the hell is your problem?" Grace asked shooting Jessie a look just as hostile as the other girl�s tone.

"Your face," Jessie muttered not even bothering to look up from the milk in her bowl.

"My face?" Grace asked indignantly. "My face!?! What are you still in kindergarten? What�s next a �yo mamma� joke?" she continued standing up and moving away from the table. "No wonder Katie�s hanging out with Sarah again," she said sensing an opportunity to get back at Jessie and snapping at it like a hungry Panda. "I�d hardly want to be around you either," she finished walking out of the kitchen, not needing to look back to know that her statements had hit their mark. Her face indeed.

Jessie glanced up watching Grace exit the kitchen with a frown marring her fine features, before sighing and going back to her contemplation of her Corn Pops, Grace�s closing words echoing in her mind. She�d been obsessing over Sarah and her reemergence into Katie�s life ever since the afternoon Katie couldn�t shut up about her. She knew without a doubt that Sarah was trying to worm her way back into Katie�s good graces so that she could try and get her away from Jessie, but Katie for all of her wonderful qualities seemed completely oblivious to what the other girl was after. In her defense, the way Katie treated her hadn�t changed in the least, she was still as doting and attentive as ever, and didn�t really seem inclined to mention Sarah at all unless Jessie herself brought her up. But still, there was a little voice nagging Jessie at the back of her head asking her if Katie was really as oblivious to what Sarah was doing as she acted. Making her wonder if Sarah actually had a chance because she would do anything to get Katie back, while she herself wasn�t willing to do anything to keep her.

Before that night a week ago, they had never actually discussed being physically intimate. Like a lot of other things in their relationship the answer had seemed to be already known to them so they hadn�t needed to talk about it, just like how at the beginning they hadn�t needed to talk about how much affection they would display in public, they just seemed to understand what the other would be comfortable with. But now that they had talked about it, and Jessie knew for a fact that Katie was ready and was only waiting on her, she began to be consumed by thoughts of it. About whether she was being fair to Katie and their relationship by holding out, about why she felt the need to hold out even though she often had to fight herself for control when they got into heavy make-out sessions, and when the very idea of it made her all tingly inside. And now that Sarah had reemerged with her dirty girlfriend stealing hands pawing wantonly at Katie, who seemed content to just ignore them instead of patting them off of her, Jessie had begun to think about it more. She began to think about taking away the only advantage Sarah could possibly have over her, and making Katie hers completely.

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Part 23

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School � Two days later

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"What can I say?" Katie asked shrugging playful as she and Jessie backed away from Tad and a few other assembled people. "Where goes Jessie, so goes my nation," she continued which was met by a chorus of whipping sounds being made.

"They�re such punks," Katie commented once they were out of earshot of the others.

"You know you love them," Jessie replied smiling as Katie mock glared at the memory. Katie shrugged conceding Jessie�s point.

"So, for what did I just get myself labeled P-whipped?" Katie asked as they continued down the hall. They�d all just been lounging around when Jessie had whispered to her that she wanted to talk to her alone, and now she found herself intensely curious as to what was on her girlfriends mind.

"P-whipped?" Jessie asked ignoring Katie�s question for a moment.

"Yep. As far as everyone is concerned I am now officially the bottom in this relationship," Katie replied. "So this better be worth it."

"My moms leaving for some conference this afternoon and is gonna be gone all weekend," Jessie began willing her hands to stop shaking. "So, I�ll basically have the place all to myself," she went on. "I was thinking that you should come over."

"Yeah," Katie agreed instantly, thinking that some quality time ALONE with Jessie couldn�t be anything but of the good, already planning for sappy movies and multiple snuggles. "Sounds like good times."

"Okay," Jessie said realizing that she had made the right decision as soon as Katie responded positively the moment she had finished talking. Katie had said that she�d been fine with waiting, but that response had proven that she really didn�t want to, because everyone knew that when you got invited over to your significant others empty house for the weekend it was equivalent to saying �let�s have sex�. "How about seven-ish?" Jessie continued.

"I�ll be there," Katie replied smiling at her seeing �Beaches� in their future. "Cause I simply refuse to be square."

"Oh that�s not going to be a problem," Jessie muttered to herself, as the weight of planning for this evening began to settle across her shoulders.

"What?" Katie asked not quite being able to make out what Jessie had said.

"Nothing," Jessie replied. "What do you have next?"

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Karen�s House � That Night

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Katie flipped through Karen�s cd collection with quite a bit of interest as Jessie shuffled between running upstairs and downstairs. She�d tried asking Jessie what she was doing and if she wanted any help, but Jessie had repeatedly told her to just relax and she�d see soon enough. So, after a final finger wagging Katie had acquiesced and began looking at Karen�s cd�s, which were actually quite impressive as far as she was concerned.

"You�re mom�s got some great taste in music," Katie commented sensing Jessie as she walked into the living room.

"You think?" Jessie asked not really in the mood to make small talk. "She�ll be happy to hear that," she continued steering the conversation away from anything that had to do with her mother. "Why don�t you come upstairs, I want to show you something."

"Oh, field trip," Katie replied grinning at Jessie as she turned away from the cd rack.

**

Katie looked around the room in something close to awe. There were no lights on, but the room was softly lit by a dozen or so candles strategically placed around the room, and in the background she could hear the strings to some soft music playing, Sade or something like that. The room looked absolutely amazing, completely drenched in atmosphere. "Wow," she breathed out as Jessie slowly walked up to her. "This is incredib�" was all she managed to get out however, because Jessie�s lips soon came to cover hers swallowing whatever she may have wanted to say, though truthfully the moment Jessie�s lips touched hers she hadn�t wanted to say anything anymore.

**

Katie arched into Jessie�s touch as she felt her girlfriends hands begin to sneak under her shirt and she brought their lips together again. The feelings that were cursing through her body were almost overwhelming, everything that Jessie was doing to her just felt so good that she almost couldn�t stand it. But there was something wrong, even though everything in her body seemed to be feeling right for like the first time ever, there was this shadow at the back of her mind telling her that something wasn�t right. So finally, wishing that she could kick her own ass for stopping what they were doing, she pulled back from Jessie�s lips stepping away from her to put a little space between them.

"What�s�what�s going on here?" she said her voice coming out in short gasps as she looked at Jessie, who�s face was undetectable at the moment, making her think that she was definitely right to stop things.

"I would think that�s fairly obvious," Jessie replied stepping towards Katie again.

"Yeah," Katie responded watching Jessie closely. "Everything�s right out of �Seduction 101�. What isn�t obvious is why you�re doing this when you clearly don�t want to be," she continued still staring at Jessie. Jessie had been going through the motions, she�d been going through them really well, but there had been no passion behind them. She�d felt more raw affection from her girlfriend months ago when they�d just sat at the foot of Jessie�s bed staring at each other, than she had moments ago.

"I don�t see how anything I�ve done could be interpreted as not wanting to," Jessie replied stepping closer, taking Katie�s hands into hers. "This was my idea after all."

"What changed?" Katie asked still uncertain. She wanted nothing more than to pick up where they�d left off, if Jessie truly wanted to, but she didn�t think that Jessie wanted to, and she couldn�t, she wouldn�t go through with anything if that were the case. She just couldn�t understand why Jessie would go to all of this trouble and then be so vacant.

"Listen," Jessie said her voice rising a little as she realized that Katie wasn�t just going to let her get on with it. "If you don�t want to sleep with me, just say so!"

"That�s not it," Katie said reaching out for Jessie who�d pulled away from her, not knowing how Jessie could possibly believe that that could be anything that approached the truth. "You�re just � you�re not here with me," Katie continued. "You say you want to, but it�s like your mind is somewhere else, like you�re being forced into something, and I don�t understand why you should feel like that. I mean did I do something to make you think you had to do this, even if you didn�t want to?" Katie asked the mere implication that she may have made Jessie feel pressured into sleeping with her before she was ready cutting into her like a knife.

"I thought you wanted this?" Jessie asked closing her eyes and making them sting as she tried to contain her tears behind them. "Do you not need it anymore?"

"What?" Katie asked now completely lost. "I don�t understand," she continued trying to draw Jessie into a hug, but stopping when her girlfriend resisted her pull. "What are you saying?"

"Nothing," Jessie muttered finally opening her eyes and moving around Katie to turn on the lights, humiliation settling over her uncomfortably, closely followed by extreme vulnerability.

"It�s obviously not nothing," Katie said following Jessie to the door, and touching her on the arm lightly. "It�s something, and I want to know what."

Jessie let out a small humorless grunt of laughter and shrugged out of Katie�s grasp, her feelings of vulnerability putting her on the defensive. "You�ve been spending a lot of time with Sarah," she said softly moving back towards the center of the room.

"Sarah?" Katie asked completely befuddled. "What does Sarah have to do with any �" she began to say before pausing as a thought struck her. "You think she�s trying to steal me away from you," Katie said softly, her eyes beginning to tear up as she glanced at Jessie whose wandering eyes indirectly confirmed what she had said. "By putting out," she continued her voice rising incredulously.

"God Jessie!" she exclaimed a moment later as she realized what the girl must have thinking, what was really going on. "I�m not sleeping with Sarah, I don�t want to sleep with Sarah, and I never have," she continued, her nostrils flaring slightly as she tried to keep control of her temper, not wanting to say something she�d regret later. "If she was the last person on her earth, I�d rather dedicate my life to the study of seashells than sleep with her," she went on. "How can you not know this?" she asked with more than a touch of exasperation in her voice. "How can you still not know that you�re absolutely the only person I ever think about? I mean is it me? Am I not telling you how I feel enough so that you actually think you have to whore yourself to me to get me to stay?" she asked running a head through her hair and thus missing Jessie�s wince at her accurate but painful description of what she�d been trying to do.

"How many times do I have to tell you I don�t care about the sex, I care about you. I want you, what�s up here," Katie said touching her head blinking away some tears that were stinging her eyes, "and in here," she continued softly placing her hand over her heart. "Not," she continued a moment later, "what�s in your pants," she finished bluntly shaking her head, as she wondered what it said about her, about Jessie, about their relationship that they were even having this conversation. From that day in the attic, she�d given Jessie all of the control and she�d continued by that prerogative always letting Jessie be the first to start things, to kiss her, to tell her mother about them, to ask her to the dance, to touch her in public for the first time at school, and anything and everything else. It just boggled her mind that Jessie still didn�t understand this, didn�t see that she had willingly given herself to her, that she couldn�t understand that she really loved her as much as she said she did.

"I�m sorry," Jessie said reaching out for Katie only to have Katie remove her hand from Jessie�s. "I wasn�t thinking," she continued starting to panic as she saw Katie begin to retreat into herself. "I was just so scared, that I might lose you � I wasn�t, I didn�t�" Jessie finished trailing off lamely as she watched Katie watch her. She�d screwed up royally, she was aware of that fact now. All of her fears and her concerns, they were just that, HER fears and concerns. Nothing that she had worried about had even entered Katie�s mind, and her implication that they may have were now hurting Katie which was something that she had never wanted to do. She just couldn�t have fathomed that whatever she gave to Katie would�ve been enough, but she was realizing that whether she could fathom it or not, it was the truth.

Katie pressed the ball of her hand to the bridge of her nose wearily, finally breaking the eye contact between her and Jessie. She believed her girlfriend when she said she was scared, and she could clearly see that she was both upset and sorry, but she was also upset, and confused and wondering how the hell all of this could have happened.

"I know," Katie breathed out softly, finally dragging her hand away from her face. "But I have to go," she continued heading for the door. She needed some time alone, she had to think about things, and try and sort out the jumbled mess of thoughts filling her head.

"Don�t, don�t go," Jessie said reaching out for her again, her voice cracking as more tears slid down her face. "Please."

Katie carefully placed her hand over top of Jessie�s squeezing it slightly before removing it from her arm. "I think we both need some time alone," she responded, wanting nothing more than to take Jessie into her arms but knowing that she wouldn�t be able to stand it if she did. "I�ll call you tomorrow," and with that she walked out of the bedroom door and headed for stairs, not once stopping to turn back knowing that if she did it would break whatever was left of her heart.

Jessie watched Katie�s form disappear from sight, her eyes still watering as she stood there in something close to shock. She couldn�t quite comprehend what I had just happened, except to know that somehow she had managed to screw things up to epic proportions. They were supposed to have gotten closer tonight, as close as possible, but instead she felt farther away from her girlfriend than she had ever since they�d met.

Stumbling back to her bed she sat down, just barely catching the edge of it and placed her head in her hands. God, what had she done?

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Part 24

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Manning House � Brunch, the next day

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"Where�s the bacon?" Zo� asked frantically looking around the table for her crispy goodness. "What?" she asked as she saw her mom and sister, and Eli start to snicker. "What?" she asked again. "Come on, where�s the bacon?" she asked again as Rick stood up to answer the ringing phone.

"Just a second," he said into the receiver before placing it on his shoulder. "Jessie, Katie�s on the phone," he said preparing to jump out of the way when she pounced towards him to grab the phone, as was usually the case. He had been a casualty of young love, and didn�t want it to happen again.

"Can you just tell her that I�m not feeling well and I�ll call her later?" Jessie responded dully pushing the food on her plate around absently, and thus missing the astonished looks from everyone gathered around the table, including Zo� who had for the moment forgotten about the bacon.

"Jessie," Rick started slowly not sure what was going on, but knowing that having him lie to Katie for her couldn�t possibly be the best solution. "I�m not going to lie to her for you, you�re obviously feeling fine, so if you have something that you�d like to discuss or not discuss with Katie then�"

"Fine!" Jessie in an alarmingly loud, but relatively calm voice as she stood up from the table. "Tell her the truth, tell her I�m not here," and with that she headed towards the door, opening it and escaping into the afternoon sunlight before anyone could stop her or say anything to her. She just couldn�t talk to Katie, not after what she�d done the night before. She�d made complete ass out of herself, she couldn�t even understand what had been going through her head to make her act that way. All she knew was that the humiliation she felt knew no bounds, and that she absolutely couldn�t talk to Katie.

"I�m sorry Katie," Rick said still watching the door in amazement. "She�s not here right now, can I take a message?"

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School - Monday

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"You�ve gotta be shittin me!" Katie exclaimed looking at Andrea like she had just sprouted antennae. "This is like the most ridiculous assignment I�ve had the intense displeasure of having to not do," she continued as everyone around her laughed and Tad slung his arm around her shoulder, muttering �there�s our girl� to a response of �here, here�s�. There wasn�t an assignment known to man, that Katie couldn�t blow off with the nonchalance of a true professional.

"I wonder what your old lady�s gonna have to say to that?" Russell asked as he spotted Jessie just across the schoolyard.

Katie looked up just in time to catch Jessie�s eyes as she glanced over at them, and as always was lost for a moment looking at her. Then she remembered, she remembered being ditched all weekend long, and she remembered being pissed at being treated like the bad guy for not wanting to take advantage of the girl she was in love with. She remembered to look away, and that�s just what she did, turning her head slightly to side, leaving Jessie staring at the side of her face.

"Whoa, is it just me or did it suddenly just get chilly?" Tad asked mock shivering as Jessie continued on her way towards the school after Katie totally turned her back on her.

"Don�t," Katie responded darkly turning to face him. "Just don�t."

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Manning House � Two days later

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Jessie stared down at her plate before closing her eyes and sighing deeply, then digging at her eyes tiredly. "Can I be excused?" she asked finally not able to take any more sitting around.

"You�ve barely touched you food," Rick commented upon hearing Jessie�s request. He didn�t want to make a big deal out of it, but he had noticed that she hadn�t been eating much lately, and knew that with her history it was a big deal. He�d underestimated things the first time around and he wasn�t going to make the same mistake this time.

Jessie glanced over at her dad then back down at her plate which she hadn�t touched. "I�m not hungry."

"You should try and eat a little," Rick said not backing down, making a mental note to call Karen and see if Jessie was acting the same way at her house. If she was falling back into old patterns they were going to have to talk about what to do. "It�s good."

Jessie was quite for a moment, acutely aware of the silence of the room, and of the feel of everyone�s eyes on her. Painfully aware of the fact that everyone at the table was watching her, and knowing what they must be thinking, that she was relapsing, and their consequent pitying. "If you like it so much, why don�t you eat it?" she said finally shoving the plate away from her and jostling the rest of the dishes on the table.

"Jessie," Lily began feeling the need to mediate before things got out of hand. "I could fix you something else if�"

"I don�t want anything else," Jessie replied crankily. "I�m NOT hungry! What? I�m not allowed to not be hungry like day of the goddamn year?" she continued flinging herself against the back of her chair and crossing her arms, indignation her halo.

"That�s right," Rick responded. He�d had about enough of her attitude, she�d been almost unbearable to live with for the last few days, constantly snipping and complaining and throwing a temper tantrum at the slightest provocation. He�d say it was like living with a three year old, only she�d been an absolute angel when she was three.

"What are you gonna do, force-feed me?" Jessie asked snottily looking over at him with a look that said �deal with it�. Then when he didn�t respond, she stood up and huffed out of the kitchen, flouncing up the stairs leaving a very uncomfortable family at the dinner table.

===============================================

Karen�s House

---------------------

Jessie scratched at her notebook as her mind drifted back to school, and the memory of Katie and Sarah standing together in the hallway laughing away together merry as could be, then looked back down at her page scratching carelessly some more. She�d been trying to find Katie to apologize, to try and make up, cause she was absolutely miserable without the other girl around. But when she�d seen that, that irrational part of her brain that seemed to be controlling her more and more lately, took over and got all offended making her huff away bitterly.

"Is Katie coming over?" Karen asked wandering into the living room and seeing Jessie working alone. On Thursday nights, Katie was usual over there with her working away on whatever it was they were working on. It had become somewhat of a routine for them, one Karen actually enjoyed. It was nice to have the house filled with sounds, and laughter and life.

"No," Jessie responded curtly not bothering to look up.

"Why not?" Karen asked thinking that Jessie hadn�t been filling the house with anything other than snideness and dark clouds lately.

"Because we broke up," Jessie responded as if she was discussing the weather, still not looking up.

Karen looked at her in surprise; she certainly hadn�t expected that one. Moving further into the room she sat down on the couch. "Why?" she asked gently. She had actually gotten quite attached to the idea of the two of them together. Katie was genuinely a nice girl, and Jessie was so happy when they were together that Karen couldn�t help but see the beauty in their relationship, even if she still worried for what it would mean to her daughters future.

"Because," Jessie replied peevishly as memories of her disastrous seduction came back to her.

"That�s not much of an answer," Karen pointed out wondering what could possibly have happened between them. "Is it?" she continued trying to coax some more information out of her daughter.

"Fine," Jessie said turning around for the first time since her mother started talking. "The real reason we broke up is that she asked too many questions," she said looking at her mother pointedly.

Karen stared at her for a moment, her expression clearly showing that she wasn�t impressed by her daughter�s response, and then she got up and moved into the other room as Jessie turned back to her paper ripping it out of her notebook and throwing it to the side.

"She still got that bee up her ass?" Eli asked his mother as she came into the kitchen.

"A whole nest from the looks of it," Karen replied shaking her head.

===============================================

Part 25

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Grace winced as Katie snapped at Miriam Crow, effectively cutting the girl a new asshole for making the serious mistake of trying to talk to her. Poor Miriam, Grace thought to herself. She was renowned around school for her cluelessness and it had now come to bite her in the ass. While Katie had always been known around the school for her relative friendliness � thus separating herself in a good way from the majority of the popular crowd � everyone had realized days ago that: one, it was best to stay out of Katie�s way now and two, dark bags were not a good look on the dirty blonde. Everyone that was except for poor, oblivious Miriam.

"So what are some of the causes of world hunger?" Mrs. Simpson asked the class, her attention focusing on Katie who was slouched over in her chair looking barely conscious. "Ms. Singer?" she asked causing Katie to look up at her grouchily.

"I don�t know," Katie replied softly without even attempting to look like she had considered the question before hanging her head back down and beginning to zone out again when Mrs. Simpson interrupted her again.

"Surely you must have at least a suggestion," Mrs. Simpson replied. She didn�t understand what was going on with Katie recently, even though the girl had never really been big on handing in her homework, she was one of the best students in the class. However, lately she had been off of her game, so far off of her game that her game was like a dot to her.

"I don�t know," Katie said wearily closing her eyes and wishing the woman would leave her alone. "How about your fat ass?" she continued barely aware of the gasps from the students sitting around her.

**

Grace shook her head as she watched Katie slouch out of the classroom, her first class ticket to the principles office firmly grasped in her hand. Grace sighed and turned away from the door as Katie�s figure disappeared, her eyes returning to her notebook as she wondered what could possibly have gone so wrong between her and Jessie. The two of them had been like the perfect couple, almost sickeningly in love. To have gone from �I see forever in your eyes� to whatever kick it was the two of them were on now just didn�t make any sense to Grace, and she figured that that was the problem because it probably wasn�t making any sense to them either.

============================================

Katie�s House � Three days later

-----------------------------------------

"You�re mom let me in," Sarah said into the darkness of Katie�s bedroom. She could hear Billie Holiday playing softly in the background and could just make out Katie�s figure sprawled listlessly across the bed.

"Great, then she can let you out too," Katie muttered into the darkness, not moving an inch. Movement might have indicated some sort of interest on her part in whatever it was that had brought Sarah over, and she absolutely didn�t want that to happen.

"You don�t mean that," Sarah said softly, reaching over to turn on a nearby lamp. "The last thing you really want is to be alone," she continued now able to see Katie, instead of merely a mass on the bed.

"Thanks for the analysis Dr. Freud," Katie mumbled sarcastically in response as she shied away from the light Sarah just turned on. She was like a miner who�d been underground for too long suddenly exiting the shaft, and Sarah wondered how long she�d been lying there in the dark.

"Now get outta here," Katie continued oblivious to the look on concern covering the other girls face. "Go on, Am Scray," she continued impatiently, just wanting to be left alone. She missed Jessie so much that it was like even breathing took up to much effort now that her girlfriend wasn�t around anymore. The first couple of days after the weekend, when she�d started giving Jessie the silent treatment, had been fine. She�d had righteous indignation to hold onto and had truly believed that things would blow over, but now it�d been a week, and it was like she was dying. She didn�t want to eat, or talk or do anything. She was just sad.

Sarah walked over to the bed, the idea of actually leaving Katie alone not even occurring to her, and sat down on the edge of it watching Katie sadly. She looked like shit, just like she had for day upon days. This wasn�t like Katie she�d never seen the other girl so upset, it seemed wrong somehow, like it was against nature. Katie was a person naturally acclimated to the light; the darkness didn�t suit her at all in Sarah�s eyes. She wanted Katie to smile again, and she wanted to be the one to cause it. She would bring back the light.

"You can act as tough as you want, but I�m not leaving," Sarah said softly.

"Suit yourself," Katie muttered covering her head with a pillow so that she wouldn�t have to listen to Sarah�s pseudo-psychology new age-y bullshit anymore. All she wanted to do was sleep, and brood, and wallow in self- pity while cursing herself, and she could do all of that just was well with Sarah there as she could alone.

===============================================

Katie licked the skin beneath her lips, moaning as she felt a hand begin to slip under her shirt, tracing her skin lightly. "Jessie," she mumbled against the salty skin of the neck her lips were attached to, pressing soft kisses along it as she felt the hand under her shirt begin to slip further up. Jessie, Jessie, Jessie her mind sung deliriously.

"Jessie," she said again, gasping this time as the hand cupped her breast massaging it lightly. "I love you so much," she whispered reverently pressing herself into the hand that had stopped moving.

The hand began to move again a second later, but the slight hesitation was enough for the haze surrounding Katie to begin to lift and for the first time since the touching started she began to become aware of her surrounding, and the more she did, the more she knew that something was seriously amiss. Jessie?

The scent of the body above her was wrong, the hands pressed against her body weren�t nearly delicate enough, the body itself felt larger, and the hair was too long � and dark. Then it all started to come back to her, Sarah showing up uninvited and sitting on the bed, her ignoring her and trying to go to sleep completely exhausted from all of the weeks emotional stress, and a dream of Jessie where they hadn�t been fighting and everything was perfect and Jessie was kissing her.

Katie bucked up violently, dislodging the body on top of her and rolled off of her bed, standing up and turning around to stare down at Sarah like she�d never seen her before. She wanted to start brushing off her body, or jump into a lake. Dirty, she felt dirty.

"What the fuck do you think you�re doing!?!" Katie whispered harshly, anger settling in over her now that the shock of the situation had worn off.

"I didn�t do anything," Sarah responded as Katie stalked toward her and yanked her off the bed. Ripping her hand out of Katie�s grasp she continued to speak, her voice high and defensive. "You started it. I was just sitting there waiting for you to wake up when you wrapped yourself around me and started to kiss me," she went on looking at Katie as she blinked back tears.

"Don�t give me that," Kate responded acerbically glaring over that the other girl. "You knew I was thinking about her, not you," she continued accusingly remembering very well what she had said when Sarah�s hand had paused, and that it had paused before she�d tried to keep on going. She distinctly remembered saying Jessie�s name, so Sarah had to have heard and decided that it didn�t matter that she was half unconscious and thinking about someone else.

"Come on, Kate," Sarah said realizing that she was in a very precarious position. She hadn�t intended to start anything with Katie, at least not like that, and she had tried to resist when Katie had started to kiss her, she�d really meant to stop it. But, Katie had been so tender and passionate, so loving that she couldn�t help but give in. Nothing she and Katie had shared in the summer and for those few months in the fall had been anything like what had just happened, the past had been like a shadow, a whisper in the wind. She�d been swept up in the magic of it all, the beauty of it, the purity of emotion, ecstatic at the thought she was sharing this with Katie. And then she�d heard Jessie�s name fall adoringly from Katie�s lips. That�s when she had realized that Katie didn�t even know who she was with, but by then it had stopped mattering to her because everything that she had dreamed since that first day Katie had smiled at her was finally coming true, and even though it wasn�t exactly what she had hoped for it was enough. It was good enough and she couldn�t stop herself from taking it. "It wasn�t so bad," she continued imploringly. "Didn�t it feel good?"

Katie paced back away from her towards the back of the room, running an agitated hand through her hair, before finally turning around to face Sarah again, to face her for the last time. "Go. Now," she ground out softly, but viscerally, trying valiantly to stop herself from walking across the room and throttling Sarah were she stood. "And don�t come back, and don�t talk to me. Ever. Again," she finished dropping her head down and turning her back to Sarah.

===================================================

Continue to Chapters 26-End

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