Going back to school after a weekend away is hard. All she wants to do is sleep in all day curled up next to Mal and Elsie while hearing her parents laugh in the background. Instead, she’s sitting in Physics with Teagan poking her every 5 seconds to spill the tea about her weekend away with Mallory.
“Nothing happened T,”
Teagan eyes her suspiciously, Jessie shakes her head in frustration.
“She doesn’t have feelings for me, and she never will. I should just focus on being a good friend,”
She turns back to the board and her friend gets the signal that she doesn’t want to talk about it. The rest of the class consists of Jessie trying not to fall asleep and Teagan trying to see how long she can use her phone under the table before the teacher notices.
At lunch, she’s surprised when Mal's already sitting by Sam when she gets to their table. She hasn’t eaten with them in week and Jessie hides her surprise well. Of course, Kelley invites the whole team to a party Thursday night (Jessie thinks that whoever picked the middle of the week was probably an idiot) and claims it’s ‘team bonding’. She’s positive she can hear Jordyn and Tobin muttering something along the lines of ‘KO just wants to get wasted’
She tries her best not to laugh for Kelley’s sake because the girl is bouncing with excitement as she texts everyone the time and address.
“Guys don’t forget we have a game this Saturday, so we can’t get that wasted,” Alex reminds them and nudges Kelley sternly. Her best friend turns and looks at her incredulously as if she was offended Alex would even look at her.
“Bold of you to assume I can even get drunk,”
Alex rolls her eyes, “Oh I don’t have to assume Kelley, I know from experience,” she shoots back.
Jessie watches their interaction and smiles to herself, she’s pretty sure those two were soulmates but she’d never tell them.
Mal's still staying at her house but Jessie doesn’t see her outside of practice much over the next few days. They go home together then each with go off into their own rooms and do their own homework and hobbies. Jessie’s mom insisted on helping Mallory bring a few things over while her dad went next door and had a chat with Mallory’s mom (who had no care in the world about where her daughter was staying).
Now, their guest bedroom is filled with Mal's stuff and it makes Jessie happy to see her friend so comfortable. It’s also nice to know that she’s safe and not sleeping on the streets, although sometimes she’ll sleep over at Grant’s house and sneak back in late in the night.
Mallory also sneaks into Jessie’s room less and less. It used to be a grounding thing, Jessie brought her back to reality when she couldn’t adjust from her nightmares. Now, she was having them less and less. Jessie tries to convince herself that she doesn’t miss the pair of arms that used to wrap around her waist unexpectedly in the night. Or waking up tangled up with someone who’s practically a space heater.
It warms her heart to see Elsie hang out with Mal, although sometimes she feels almost jealous that her sister seems to like Mal more than her. She’s glad they hang out though because Mallory’s much better at giving her sister advice about boys. Whenever her sister asks her for advice it always ends in a pillow getting chucked Jessie’s way for her smartass answers.
Thursday rolls around quickly and it reminds her of the first time that she really got to know Mal. The first party they ever went to together, it felt like forever ago when in reality it was only months ago. She doesn’t remember what it's like to not have Mallory as a constant in her life. She likes having her around, even when she drags Jessie to the store an hour before the party because “Oh my god I don’t have anything to wear,”
Apparently, it's not helpful when Jessie points out that Mal has plenty of things to wear because the girl just glares at her until she gives in. She lets herself get dragged through half the shops in the mall and they somehow make it to the party on time.
At the party, she finds herself with a drink in hand, hanging out with Teagan, Tobin, and Janine. She would say they’re all the chillest people on the team, all with laid back personalities like herself. It's a welcome change after having to go shopping with Mallory for the past two hours. She finds herself having fun and they lose track of time just chatting away about soccer. It’s nice to find a group of people that are as passionate about soccer as her. They don’t stop talking until they see Emily and Mal stumble towards them, obviously wasted. Jessie crinkles her eyebrows, ‘why would they drink this much knowing they had a game soon?’
She gets up and helps Mal to a chair while Janine helps Sonnett. Mal smiles loopily at her and Jessie tucks a piece of stray hair back behind her ear.
“How drunk are you?” She asks seriously.
When Mal giggles it makes her angry for some reason. Mal was the captain, what kind of example was she setting for the freshman on the team?
“You shouldn’t have drunk this much and you know it,” She says harshly, she’s not really sure where it comes from.
Mal looks at her, still in her drunken state, “You’re not my girlfriend, don’t tell me what to do,” She narrows her eyes at Jessie. Jessie can feel her teammates looking at them. She takes a breath and controls her anger, it was probably caused by the slight buzz she has going on.
“You’re right,” she says, “I’m not your girlfriend, but I am your friend so I’m sorry that I care about whether or not you feel like shit on gameday,”
Everyone’s ready to leave and call it a night. Teagan drives them back home and she tells Jessie to cool her jets. She also helps her navigate a fussy Mallory back into her house before she drives home.
Before she goes Jessie calls after her.
Teagan looks back at her, “I call being designated driver next week,” Jessie says.
“Suit yourself, Fleming,”
Getting Mal changed and in bed is hard but getting her to let Jessie leave the room is harder.
“Are you mad at me,” she hears her ask when she turns off the lights to leave.
Jessie sighs and leans in the doorway, “A little bit, but I still want you to be safe so please just go to sleep and don’t leave,”
She hears Mallory mutter something along the lines of ‘Ok Jess’ before she closes her door.
Jessie gets changed in record time before brushing her teeth and flopping onto her own bed and passing out.
She could worry about the rest tomorrow.