White beams of sunlight filtered through the silky yellow curtains of Jen's bedroom and hit the side of her face, focusing on her eyes. The light caused her to stir from her slumber and she groaned to herself about wanting to go back to sleep. But she suddenly changed her mind as she saw the blurry figure of an all too familiar teenage boy looking rather uncomfortable as he slept. Jen sat up and rubbed her eyes. A small smile curled on her lips; the sight of Drue was surprising, but comforting. She looked to him then looked down at herself. It didn't take a genius to figure out why he was there and how she was in the state that she was. The sight of him and knowing what he had done for her made her feel really...good.
"Good morning." She whispered, standing from her bed and stretching. Her hands tugged at the under-wire of her strapless bra, and she groaned at the feeling of the sweat that had formed beneath it over night. Her eyes then returned to the slumbering boy. "What did I do to deserve you?" Jen's voice was soft and almost sad. She gazed at his face, at his worried, uncomfortable expression. "Don't care so much," She whispered and squatted down in front of him, "Please, don't care so much." A gentle hand reached out, and Jen tucked a piece of his dark hair behind his ear, and gave him a tender kiss on his forehead.
As she started out of her bedroom on her way to the shower, she stopped in her doorway, looked back at Drue, smiled to herself, and continued down the hall.
- - - - - - - - - -
When Drue opened his eyes the first thing he saw was Jen sitting curled up in the corner of her bed, her back leaning against the wall, her feet flat on the mattress and her knees pulled up towards her torso slightly. She held a soft covered book in her hands, and Drue watched her eyes move across the pages for a few moments. Her golden hair was still damp from her shower, and it curled naturally for once. Something about the way the soft ringlets dangled and swayed ever so slightly made Drue want to take a picture of her, just so he could remember her that way forever. It was the most beautiful he'd ever seen her, he thought, so natural, in a state of utter isolation, when she thought nobody was looking, where she could be herself. He couldn't help smiling at the pleasure of her beauty, shifted his position in the chair, and leaned his head to the left, placing his chin in his palm. The sound of his jeans rubbing against the upholstery of the chair jarred Jen from the book she was reading, and she looked to a now wide-awake Drue, who was still smiling.
Jen returned the smile, placing a bookmark in between two pages and setting the book down on the pillow next to her. "How long have you been awake?"
"Not long." Drue shrugged and stood up with a yawn. He stretched his arms broadly. "You got pretty messed up last night..." He informed her.
She sighed. "Hence your need to put me in my bed." A stressed hand entangled itself in damp locks.
Drue shrugged again. "I don't understand how you could let yourself get to that point though. Two guys, Jen, two separate guys were taking turns making out with your passed out body. It was sickening." His tone suddenly turned harsh and accusatory.
"Well I'm sorry that I sicken you." She threw back sarcastically with her hazel eyes now squinted in anger.
He rolled his eyes. "You just don't get it. You never have...you probably never will." Drue started to turn towards her bedroom door.
"I don't get it!?" She screamed back at him in a questioning tone. "I don't fucking get the shit I put myself through? Is that it Drue? Because you know what? I fucking know, okay? I know what I do to myself and I do it because I want to. You can't stop me. You can try to save me but your attempts are all in vain, because I'm just going to keep doing it, I'm just going to keep being me..."
"Keep being you!" He interrupted, spinning around towards her again. "You are no one Jen, or should I say Jenny. This Jenny girl isn't you. Sure it's always been who you appear to be to everyone, but they're not the ones who carry you three blocks and put you in your bed at night, they're not the ones who see you like I just did, reading, like a normal human being. So don't you fucking tell me my attempts to save you are in vain, because believe me I get no pleasure out of it besides for the fact of knowing you're alive and safe." Drue managed to make his last sentence sound harsh even though the words it contained were some of the nicest Jen had heard in her entire life.
"What are you hiding?" Her tone softened. Her eyes turned inquisitive.
"What?" His defenses jumped up. "I'm not hiding anything I'm just saying-"
"Then why do you care so much?" Jen interrupted him.
Drue swallowed. "Look, Jenny...I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong idea here but things are purely platonic between us...they've always been that way. I don't know what I did to make you think something changed-"
"Oh, no I didn't think that at all." She shook her head, closing her eyes. A sudden and unexpected wave of disappointment ran through her at his words. "What made you think I thought that?"
He shrugged again, meeting his eyes with hers. "I don't know, I mean, you-"
"I asked you why you cared because I just don't understand it. I wasn't even thinking it was a-ya know...romantic thing." Jen scratched a spot on the side of her head, dropping her eyes from Drue's.
"Oh okay." Drue nodded, stuffing his hands in his jean pockets and looking back at Jen. "Good cause that would just be really...weird then."
Jen swallowed. "Yeah...kinda awkward, wouldn't ya say?"
Drue managed to let out a fake chuckle. "Yeah, way too awkward."
"And we wouldn't want that, now would we?" She asked sweetly, but it was more like a statement than a question. Her hands found their way into the pouch on the front of her long sleeved, black shirt and pushed the fabric outwards nervously. Why did saying this hurt so much all of a sudden? Why did her heart feel let down as he said things were purely platonic between them?
"No." He shook his head. "No of course not."
Their dialogue was soft and falsely confident. Like a bolt of lightening, they were both hit with new feelings, desires, and attractions. What was the newest though, to Jen at least, was that these feelings, desires, and attractions were for Drue. It finally became obvious to her just how much he really cared, and it touched her heart. It shook her soul. It brought her defenses down and her respect and admiration for Drue up. But he didn't care quite enough, she guessed, because if he did he'd want something more than friendship. She stared at him for a few moments, and pictured herself kissing him, pictured herself loving him.
"Jen?" Drue questioned, raising his brows.
She blinked, snapping out of her stare immediately. "Yeah?"
"You seemed like you were really out there for a second."
A small giggle escaped from her throat. "Oh..." She ran a hand through her hair. "I didn't even notice. Sorry about that."
"It's no problem." Drue met his eyes with hers. He licked his lips and dropped his gaze to the floor, then looked back up at Jen. "I guess I should get home...you know...shower and change my clothes..."
Jen laughed. "Yeah...you should definitely go do that. I can smell you from here." She joked, a sideways smile growing on her face.
Drue rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the compliment."
"Anytime." She smirked.
"Okay...yeah...so...see ya Lindley." Drue started out of Jen's room, glancing back at her over his shoulder as he left.
- - - - - - - - - -
The stinging sensation of the hot water pounding on Drue's back began to feel comforting after a few moments. At least the physical pain would temporarily distract his emotional anguish, he thought with a sigh. Even that was not enough though. Soon he didn't even feel the pain of the burning water pounding his skin.
What was it about her that had him so enthralled? And why couldn't he tell her?
The answer to the latter was suddenly simple. He knew Jen didn't care. It was like she almost resented the fact that he cared and worried about her. At least it seemed that way to him.
- - - - - - - - - -
Jen's eyes moved across the pages of her book faster than usual. Her eyes were reading the words but her mind wasn't putting them together to mean anything. She could only think about Drue. Exasperated, she sighed and closed the book.
She wondered why he cared, but then she wondered why he didn't care just a little bit more. Just a little more, she wished. She wished he would just step over that line from friendly concern to the realm of something more. These feelings were coming at her with such a sudden force that she didn't know how to deal with them. Her eyes shut slowly as an anguished hand moved up to cover her face, her fingertips resting softly right above her eyebrows.
- - - - - - - - - -
He wanted to tell her so badly. Keeping these feelings inside of him actually hurt. It was worth the pain though, he thought, because having anything with her was better than nothing. That's what Drue thought would happen. He thought that if he revealed his feelings to Jen, it would ruin everything. She would retreat from him due to the awkwardness that comes with knowing a friend has more than platonic feelings for you. If he couldn't have her love he'd have her friendship.
Friendship, right. It was a rare moment in which he actually felt gratitude coming from her way. If he could get one thing and only one thing from Jennifer Lindley in his entire lifetime, he'd want it to be that. He'd want it to be some thankfulness for every time he saved her ass. Drue shut his eyes and leaned his forehead against the slick stone that lined the shower wall. The water still pounded on his back.
- - - - - - - - - -
Jen opened her eyes and slid down from her sitting position until her head fell softly onto one of her large down pillows. This longing she was feeling was so new that it was making her restless. She tossed, turned, and banged her forehead against her mattress a few times in an attempt to get Drue off her mind. It wasn't working.
There was something she wanted to tell him, and it wasn't that she thought she was becoming hopelessly infatuated with him. Alternatively, she wanted to tell him how much he meant to her, as her friend. She wanted to let him know that even though it didn't seem like it, she was grateful for every single little thing he did for her. All the way from bringing her home at night down to letting her eat the last few pieces of popcorn when they were watching a movie.
How was she supposed to say it though? "Thank you." Just like that? It seemed too simple.
- - - - - - - - - -
Drue rubbed a dry, thick, gray towel on his wet hair before wrapping it around his waist. He wiped some water vapor that had condensed on the mirror away with his hand and looked at himself. Studying his reflection, Drue wondered what exactly it was about him that Jen couldn't love. Maybe he had broken her trust too many times or made one too many snide remarks. He had lied to her, and manipulated the people around him in order to keep her close to him. He had made her cry, embarrassed and put her down enough to even make him want to break down in tears.
But despite all the times he messed up, despite all the low actions, there was never a moment in which he didn't care about her. His odious behavior was a defense mechanism. He had to hide how he really felt.
Now all of that seemed pointless though. Drue suddenly loved her too much to want to hurt her in anyway and realized that all the pain he had caused her in the past, was causing the pain he was feeling now.
Drue shrugged. What's goes around comes around, he thought.
- - - - - - - - - -
One would think Jen would hate Drue with a passion by now. With all of the horrible things he had done to her, why should she see the nice side of him?
He always looked out for her. That's why. He saved her time and time again. No matter how evil he had been before, his kindness and caring made up for all of it. Jen wondered why he had two faces. She wondered why he was sometimes the biggest jerk alive, and then turned around and put her in her bed at night. He told her she was worth more then gave her all the opportunities to do less. And then he'd look at her with his crystal blue eyes. With a slight sparkle and keen sincerity, his eyes would tell Jen that not only did he care about her but he was sorry for every time he didn't.
She cared about him too. Jen wondered if he knew that.