Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lily stopped them briefly to inquire about what was bothering Jessie, but they were able to convince her it was OK and escape for the time being to the relative safety of Jessie's bedroom.
"OK" Grace said locking the door and walking up the steps behind Jessie, "now tell me what's going on."
"First I want you to read something," Jessie said acting very mysterious and pulling a couple of pieces of notebook paper out of the trunk in her closet, "here read this."
"What is it?" Grace asked unfolding the paper.
"It's the letter Katie wrote to me, the one that you gave me" Jessie said sitting down, "and the one I accused you of reading that night in the bathroom."
"I remember that night very well" Grace said smiling a little, "are you sure you want me to read this?"
"Yes positive I want you to know everything and then you'll understand" Jessie said, "I hope."
"Jessie, are you mad at me?" Grace read aloud as the letter started simply, "Did I do something? There's just so much I want to say to you and suddenly you won't even talk to me. I'm really sorry if I did, really sorry, so please just talk to me and tell me what I did." Grace went on, "cause I don't wanna lose you as my friend, you are so important to me. Do you know that?"
"Go on" Jessie said to Grace as she paused for a second.
"I know I shouldn't say it, but since you're not talking to me anyway, I'll just tell you here, I'm falling in love with you." Grace read again aloud, "I've never met anyone like you before and I just feel like there's this incredible connection between us. Do you feel that too? If you don't feel the same I'll understand and I won't bother you again."
"WOW" Grace said a minute or so later after finishing the letter, looking up at Jessie to see she was smiling and crying at the same exact time, "she really wrote that?"
"Yeh every word" Jessie said taking the letter from Grace and carefully refolding it and putting it back in her trunk, "and the incredible thing is she meant it Grace, she's proved it over and over again."
"I know this for sure" Grace said, "if I knew someone felt that way about me, I'd be all over them."
"Well why aren't you?" Jessie asked seriously.
"Who?" Grace asked finding herself giggling at the seriousness of Jessie's tone, "Tell me."
"Sarah" Jessie said simply, "she's in love with you, trust me."
"Yeh I know" Grace smiling and blushing.
"And you feel the same don't you?" Jessie asked.
"Yeh, it's scary though" Grace said, "I mean I never thought I would end up falling for another girl."
"You think I did?" Jessie asked, "It is scary, but if you're too scared to try, then you'll never know."
"You're right" Grace said smiling a little.
"It's like that day that I was home sick from school and you brought me some cough drops" Jessie said, "you remember?"
"Yeh, right after that huge fight and Katie was here" Grace said thinking about how glassy eyed she looked that day.
"Right before you came in was the first time I kissed Katie" Jessie said smiling, "we were both sorta freaking over what was happening and she thought I was mad at her. So she wanted the letter back and I was like, 'No, I wanna keep it forever'."
"I thought you looked sorta glassy eyed that day, like you were floating on a cloud" Grace commented, but Jessie wasn't really paying much attention as she went on with her story.
"I told her how important she was to me and she didn't already know that" Jessie said like she was in shock making Grace laugh, "so then she hugged me and we kissed. It was so romantic."
"Sounds like it" Grace said smiling.
"Every since then it just keeps getting better" Jessie said laying down on her stomach, "you know like that song by LoneStar you love, 'Amazed'."
"I can see it so clearly when she looks at you" Grace said, "It's like there's no one else in the world."
"You should know that look well" Jessie said, "Sarah looks at you like that. I saw that last night."
"She is like so amazing" Grace said suddenly beginning to giggle at her own comment.
"What is it?" Jessie asked wondering.
"Sarah sometimes calls me her 'Amazing Grace' and I just got tickled at that" Grace said trying to keep a straight face.
"Oh my god, Amazing Grace. That is so cute" Jessie said rolling over on her back and hugging herself and repeating it over and over again in a dreamy tone of voice, "You're my Amazing Grace; you're my Amazing Grace."
"OK that's enough" Grace said putting a pillow over Jessie's face, pinning her down for a second.
"I'll quit I promise" Jessie said, still giggling.
"Now what's this about you and Katie?" Grace asked wiping the smile from Jessie's face.
"OK, so you know Katie really loved me" Jessie started, "well a couple of weeks ago...."
"Yeh" Grace said urging her to go on.
"We started sleeping together" Jessie said as her heart began to pound and her palms got sweaty. Grace herself went pale white with shock.
"You're kidding right?" Grace asked after taking a few long moments away from breathing.
"No" Jessie said.
"Jessie you're too young..." Grace started.
"I don't need a lecture" Jessie said getting up and walking to her closet.
"But Jessie..." Grace started before losing her train of thought.
"I loved her and still do with all my heart and she felt the same way." Jessie said, "So we made the choice to do it."
"Jessie I'm still a virgin" Grace said, "and I'm 2 years older than you. So I don't care how much you love her, you shouldn't be doing that."
"I know that now" Jessie said.
"What do you mean?" Grace asked.
"Well today we went over to Cori's house and things sorta got really messed up." Jessie said.
"And you never did explain what you were doing over there" Grace said.
"If you must know, we were fucking" Jessie said not liking Grace's tone of voice and losing her temper for a second.
"You mean a...." Grace started before gulping and going on, "a three way?"
"Yeh me, Katie, and Cori" Jessie said sitting back down on the bed.
"Jesus Jessie what the hell is Katie telling you?" Grace asked, beginning to flip out and getting up and starting to pace.
"It was my damn idea" Jessie said, "I wanted to do it and I did and now I think it's cost me Katie."
Jessie began to cry at that comment and no matter how hard Grace tried she couldn't stay mad at her. Putting aside her opinions for the moment, Grace moved back to the bed and pulled Jessie into her arms and tried to convince her everything would be OK. Jessie's heart was breaking and Grace could feel it almost like it was her own at that moment. Nothing was said for a long time as Jessie simply had to cry it through Grace thought. Holding her, she could feel her shirt was soaked through on the shoulder where Jessie's head was laying.
"You wanna call and see if she ever got home?" Grace asked as Jessie looked up at her.
"No" Jessie said sitting up on the bed, "she doesn't wanna talk to me right now."
"How do you know?" Grace asked.
"I just do" Jessie said, "She'll call when she wants to talk to me."
"Well OK" Grace said and then realizing she was really thirsty said, "You want something to drink? I'm gonna go down and get something.
"No" Jessie said, "I'm just gonna lay down for a while."
"Oh OK" Grace said as she watched Jessie lay down and she left down the stairs.
"If you wanna talk later..." Grace started and Jessie nodded and smiled weakly before turning away.
Grace closed Jessie's door and walked by ZoŽ, who was on the phone in the hall giggling and speaking in hush-hush tones with someone.
"Yeh I think you're cute" ZoŽ said, "Do you think I am?"
"Of course" Michael said shyly from the other end of the phone, "do you know when you'll be coming back over to Sarah's?"
"Yeh as soon as I get Grace to take me with her" ZoŽ told Michael, "it won't be long, she's gotta thing for Sarah. She's over there like every night."
"Yeh I know, I seen her last time she had some blond girl with her" Michael said raising ZoŽ's curiosity.
"Who was it?" ZoŽ asked.
"Jessica or Jessie or something like that" Michael said.
"Yeh she's my sister" ZoŽ said, "step-sister really. But she's cool."
"Hey I gotta go" Michael said, "Mom's hollering, call you later bye."
"Bye" ZoŽ said hanging up the phone.
Thinking about how she could get over to see Michael without being too obvious, ZoŽ began forming a small plan in her head. First she checked the caller I.D. box to get the right number and then slowly dialed the phone. Letting it ring several times and thinking no one was home, she got ready to hang up when she heard a voice say "Hello?"
"Sarah?" ZoŽ asked, "This is ZoŽ."
"Hey my little monkey what's up?" Sarah said as ZoŽ started to blush a little.
"Just wanted to say hi" ZoŽ said, "and..."
"Yeh" Sarah said as ZoŽ stopped for a second.
"Do you know when Grace is coming back over?" ZoŽ asked.
"Nope but I hope it's soon" Sarah said giggling.
"You are so into her girl" ZoŽ said teasing Sarah.
"I am not" Sarah said trying to sound like she meant it.
"Yep sure" ZoŽ said giggling, "Well anyway could you do a favor?"v
"Anything, what you need?" Sarah asked.
"Can you talk Grace into coming over tonight so I can see Michael?" ZoŽ asked.
"I thought you loved me?" Sarah said sounding sad and broken hearted.
"Nope you dumped me for Grace, so I moved on" ZoŽ said.
"Seriously though, I'll try and talk her into it" Sarah said as ZoŽ screamed for Grace to come to the phone. Grace picked up downstairs and asked who it is.
"It's your girlfriend" ZoŽ said giggling and hanging up.
"I'm gonna kill her" Grace said as Sarah laughed.
"So you coming over tonight?" Sarah asked Grace.
"Of course I am" Grace said surprising Sarah in the quickness with which she answered.
"I was hoping you were" Sarah said, "I need a shower and well you know."
"Yeh I know" Grace said smiling a little too big as Lily walked by and gave her a curious look.
"Hey one more thing" Sarah said, "Bring ZoŽ with you. She's got it bad for Michael and wants to see him."
"Really?" Grace asked figuring out that ZoŽ probably called and asked Sarah to get her to come over.
"Yeh she called me and asked if I would get you to bring her with you" Sarah said, "but it's not like I wasn't thinking about you anyway."
"I was thinking about you too" Grace admitted as Lily once again walked by and looked at her curiously. Grace thought she might wanna hang up before she started blushing and or something else that may be even more embarrassing, "I'll be over in a little OK."
"Hope so" Sarah said as both said bye and hung up.
Thinking getting out of the house might be good for Jessie, Grace made a quick visit to the attic. But Jessie was out cold. She next made a stop by ZoŽ's room.
"So you going?" Grace said leaning against the door.
"Where?" ZoŽ asked innocently.
"Oh yeah like you don't know" Grace said smiling, "well I'm leaving if you wanna go."
"OK I'm coming, I'm coming" ZoŽ said grabbing her back pack and walking towards the door.
"Don't you think you might wanna return Sarah's tape?" Grace asked as ZoŽ stopped dead in her tracks with a 'deer in the headlights' look on her face.
"Is there anything that gets by you?" ZoŽ asked retrieving the tape from the VCR.
"No there isn't and don't you forget it" Grace said.
"So did you enjoy it?" Grace asked teasing ZoŽ as they pulled out of the driveway.
"Yeh it was OK" ZoŽ said.
"And by the way don't even think about borrowing another one" Grace said as ZoŽ turned to argue before Grace went on, "Sarah really likes you and she's too nice to say no. So you're not gonna ask her anymore."
"Grace that's not fair" ZoŽ said beginning to whine, "now tell me I'm to young to watch it, go ahead."
"No ZoŽ I don't really care if you do watch it" Grace said, "but you're not gonna get Sarah in trouble when you're ass gets caught."
"I would never tell on Sarah" ZoŽ countered and Grace knew from the way she said that, she meant it.
"I know that" Grace said, "but still no bugging Sarah to borrow her tapes. Understood?"
"Yeh I guess" ZoŽ said folding her arms and pouting with her bottom lip visible.
"There's your boy toy" Grace said as they pulled into a parking spot across from Sarah's.
"Don't you dare say that in front of him" ZoŽ said looking at Grace.
"Should I tell him you were making out with Sarah?" Grace asked grinning.
"Grace please don't I'll just die if you do" ZoŽ said blushing and turning bright red.
ZoŽ was out of the car and across the street in a second as Grace soon followed her. Telling her and Michael not to go anywhere, she went inside and rode the elevator up to Sarah's floor. Knocking on the door, Sarah asked who it was.
"It's Grace" She said smiling and playing along.
"Grace who?" Sarah said smiling herself.
"Grace Manning" Grace said.
"Sorry I don't know a Grace Manning" Sarah said giggling.
"Oh sorry wrong apartment" Grace said stomping her feet and pretending to walk away.
"Grace wait" Sarah said opening the door and running out. Seeing Grace then standing by the door smiling.
"Gotcha" Grace said giggling as Sarah flashed a relieved smile and hugged her, taking her hand and pulling her along.
"Where's ZoŽ?" she asked a few seconds later as Grace took her coat and shoes off and plopped down on the bed.
"Outside with her new boyfriend Michael" Grace said.
"Don't worry Grace" Sarah said smiling, "he's a nice kid."
Grace decided to take a bathroom break as Sarah fished out her notepad and songbook, trying to decide if it was the right time to let Grace see what she had been working on. Having to hurriedly shove it under the bed as Grace came out sooner than expected, she decided it wasn't the right time anyway.
"Hey I was just thinking?" Grace said remembering what Mr. Dmitri had said about coming down to visit him.
"Didn't hurt yourself I hope?" Sarah asked smiling as Grace shot her a dirty look.
"No I didn't" Grace said giggling herself, "I was thinking about taking a trip."
"Where to Nashville with me?" Sarah asked joining her by the window.
"You're inviting me to go?" Grace asked.
"You know you're invited" Sarah said sitting down on the window seat, "but I do want you to go with me if you can."
"Wasn't what I was thinking of" Grace admitted, "but I'll go if you beg me."
"Just for the record I'm begging" Sarah giggled but Grace knew she being half-serious also.
"No I was thinking of a trip maybe this weekend" Grace said looking at Sarah.
"Where?" Sarah asked.
"West Lafayette, Indiana" Grace said as Sarah looked at her strangely, wondering why she would pick a city like that out of the clear blue sky. Thinking back, she remembered what, or rather who lived in West Lafayette and smiled just a little, but also found herself getting a little jealous.
"EWWWWWW you wanna see Mr. Dmitri?" Sarah asked teasing Grace.
"Yeh he said we could come down any time" Grace said.
"Well" Sarah replied, "are you sure you want me along?"
"Of course I won't go without you" Grace said before asking, "So you'll go with me?"
"Yeh if you tell me why" Sarah said.
"Because" Grace said turning around and laying back against Sarah, who readily put her arms around her and smiled shyly, "haven't you noticed I've sorta grown used to having you around?"
"Well get used to it Grace Manning" Sarah said, "cause unless you run me off, I'm not going anywhere."
"Good news" Grace said looking out the window and enjoying the moment of having Sarah so close to her, "So you're going right?"
"Yeh anything for you" Sarah said hugging Grace tighter and holding on.
"I bet you been thinking a lot about him if you wanna go all the way down there to see him" Sarah said, feeling a little jealousy hit her. Grace noticed it to.
"Now Sarah, how would I have any time to think about him?" Grace said, "When I'm always thinking about you."
"I'm always thinking about you too" Sarah admitted honestly.
A long silence followed Sarah's words as Grace lay in Sarah's arms and thought about everything Sarah had said and relived some of the moments of them together. She also thought about August and the nights at his house and what he said in the parking lot the night of the LoneStar concert. Every moment of that kiss was burned into her mind. Feeling Sarah move slightly brought her back to reality and made her think about her first kiss with Sarah. A smile came to her face and she noticed Sarah watching her in the glass.
But neither said anything, talking in a way with their eyes and hearts. The silence lingered and Sarah soon fell asleep as did Grace, only to be awoken by a blaring car horn on the street below. Grace sat up and realizing where she was, turned around to look at Sarah, who had that ever-present smile already working.
"Sleep good?" She asked stretching her arms over her head and yawning deeply.
"I always sleep well when I'm with you" Grace said smiling.
"HMMMM looks like Michael and ZoŽ are moving along nicely" Sarah said pointing out the window. Michael and ZoŽ where sitting on the bench across the street and slowly kissing. From the looks of things she was using what she had learned from Sarah, as she would stop Michael after a few seconds and talk to him about something. Then back to it they would go.
"If she gets pregnant I'm gonna make you change the shit bombs" Grace said looking at Sarah as both started to laugh out loud.
"Looks like my little monkey learned well huh?" Sarah asked a few seconds later.
"Why is she your little monkey?" Grace asked as Sarah looked like she was almost waiting for it.
"She just is; ZoŽ is special to me" Sarah said, "My Grandma Elise used to call me that when I was little. I always loved it cause it was my name and no one else's. So when I met ZoŽ I thought it sorta fit her."
"It does, you're right about that" Grace said watching as ZoŽ and Michael got up from the bench and walked down the street holding hands.
"So when do we leave?" Sarah asked a few seconds later.
"No time like the present" Grace said standing up, "but I guess we could leave tonight?"
"Hey wait" Sarah said standing up as well, "is Mom gonna let us go?"
Grace turned and gave Sarah a strange look "Who's this mom you're talking about?"
"Lily" Sarah said giggling.
"You know you're as goofy as a pet coon" Grace giggled as Sarah punched her arm.
"But I don't think she'd say too much about it though" Grace said.
"Oh yeah, you're taking your girlfriend on a road trip to see your ex-flame." Sarah said as both cracked up.
"Wait she doesn't know you're my girlfriend yet" Grace said. "And neither did I till now."
"Well maybe someday you will be" Sarah said running for the phone. "But I think we should tell Mom about us anyway."
"Sarah no stop" Grace said as Sarah dialed the phone. Grace tried to wrestle it away from her but couldn't. Seconds later, Sarah asked for Lily and said, "Lily, Grace wants to talk to you." Handing the phone to Grace, she laughed at the expression on Grace's face and sat down in the chair smiling like a proud peacock.
"Hey Mom" Grace said as her mind raced and she tried to come up with a cover story for the trip she wanted to take, "Ummmm. Sarah's cousin Shell invited me and Sarah to a festival and I was wondering if you minded if I took the car."
"It's in West Lafayette" Grace said to Lily as Sarah listened.
"Mom, I know but we'll be back the next day or early the next morning" Grace said sorta pleading her case.
"Really?" Grace said again after a few seconds of listening, "Yeh Thanks. Yeh I promise. OK bye."
"Bye Mom" Sarah screamed as Grace hung up.
"We're going" Grace said as she excitedly hugged Sarah. "I'll take ZoŽ home and get some clothes and food and stuff and I'll be back to pick you up."
"Cool" Sarah said as Grace turned and grabbed her coat, "I'll pack and try and be ready."
Grace opened the door and felt a hand on her arm and as she turned, Sarah quickly pressed her lips to Grace's and then smiled as Grace said quietly, "that was nice."
"Yeh it was" Sarah said kissing her again softly, "now get going."
"BRB" Grace said racing out the door.
To be Continued....