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after the phone call

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“I’m sorry.” Jess said holding back tears on the other side of the phone. “It’ll be okay.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone as Kayla tried to calm herself down.

“I’m here if you need anything” Jess said quietly. “Thank you,” sniffled Kayla.

An awkward silence ensued, as both women tried to hold back tears, afraid of what the other would think.

“Jess?”

“Yeah, Kayla.”

“Can I come over to your apartment tonight. I know I have a date but I just need to… I don’t know, see you? Does that sound right? I just want—“

“Yes. Yes, yes of course, Kayla.”Jess rambled. She did that a lot when she talked to pretty girls. Probably thinking that they didn’t like her back, but in this case, the girl had asked to come over, and Jess didn’t know how to approach it. Did Kayla want to laugh? Cry? Both? She didn’t know where she stood with her. They had hooked up and Jess was still questioning everything. Had it meant anything to Kayla? Did the nonchalant flirting at work mean something? Or was anchor barbie just playing with her heart?

She didn’t know, so she just lay there on her bed, spoonful of gelato in her hand, loose hair from a days messy bun draped over her face while she tried not to let herself cry. Not even sure why the tears where there in the first place she tried to wipe them away with the back of her sweatshirt, but that just caused more to come out. God, she really needed this girl to like her back.

In that same moment Jess broke down once again on the subway ride to the apartment. Appearing to have it all together when she politely said goodbye to her date, “You’re really nice but I’m super sick,” got the job done, and then she got back on the subway and instantaneously began crying again.

She loved Jess and every minuscule detail about her… The way her hair would flop to the right in its messy bun, and sometimes even bits would come out during the day and frame her soft face. The way her blue eyes danced and would wink when she’d walk into their shared cubicle. Or how her navy, grey and blue blouses would fall perfectly down on her chest so that her gold necklace seemed to be placed with such care, when in actuality she probably hurriedly put it on without a thought. She only wished Jess had the same daydreams about her.

Getting off the subway in a hurry, trying to wipe away stray tears, Kayla made her way to Jess’s apartment. Climbing the flights of stairs as quickly as she could in her heels she made it soon enough to Jess’ door. Taking a sharp inhale before knocking Kayla stood there vulnerable as ever. Not knowing what could happen in these next few hours. A drunk hookup, a crying session, confessions of love?

The door opened quickly, interrupting Kayla’s thoughts, but there was Jess. They both stood there for a moment, not saying anything. The empty space between them larger than ever. Kayla’s brows furrowed together and her teeth bit her lip at a frail attempt to try and keep it all together, but all of a sudden she just crumbled and fell into Jess’s arms.

Not saying anything, the sobs wracking Kayla’s body now more than ever, Jess stumbled through the doorway trying to hold onto the girl.

“Hey, Hey, it’s okay.” Jess said. whispering random words of reassurance as she closed the door behind her. With Kayla still in her arms breathing anxiously, Jess maneuvered around the tight kitchen to set Kayla on the bed. While passing the Hilary poster in the kitchen she tried to crack a weak joke and once she heard a little giggle in between heavy breathing and sobs she knew that she did well.

Slowly Jess calmed Kayla down and put her down on the bed, tears still trickling down her cheeks as she took off her heels.

“I’m just gonna go grab some water, okay?” Jess said. Turning her back to Kayla and walking towards the kitchen she cupped her hand over her mouth to try and stop herself from crying. “Water? What the fuck I thinking? Water? Really Jess?” She thought, “What has this sick fuck even done to her?” Her heart practically shattered seeing Kayla like this and she didn’t even know where to begin.

A few seconds later she turned back around to see Kayla sitting there awkwardly on the bed, face still red and puffy from the tears that were shed a few moments ago. She walked towards her slowly giving an optimistic sort of grin as she handed her the glass of water and took a seat beside her on the bed.

“No offence Jess, but that Hilary poster on your fridge is just dead terrifying. She’s staring right into my soul.” Kayla said nonchalantly.

Jess broke into a grin as she realized that this was a meek attempt at their usual playful banter. “You think so? I feel as if its more of a loving kind of stare. Do your relatives have pictures of Trump on their fridge?” She joked.

She smacked Jess lightly, “Don’t bring my family into this,” She said between laughs.

“So I take it as a yes, there’s a Trump portrait on your family fridge.”

“Stop it, Jess!”

“No, no, no not yet, I need to know what expression he was making. Was it more like this,” She made the most obnoxious trump face ever, “Or like this…” Making a second one, Kayla practically leapt over to tackle her.

“I swear to god Jess Car stop it!!” She giggled.

Jess let out a soft smile at the woman who was on top of her, Kayla, realizing where she was, almost immediately slid off to lay beside Jess.

“I’m sorry,” Kayla says. The pair lay beside each other on their backs.

“No, no, no don’t apologize, it’s totally okay. I don’t want to push you to do something you don’t want to do.” Jess moved her hand over to hold Kayla’s, squeezing it affectionately.

She let out a sigh, “I think I’m going to leave Fox.” She avoided Jess’ eye contact as she darted her eyes along the celling.

“When?” Jess asked.

“Soon, I think.”

“Can I ask why?” Jess could feel Kayla stiffen up beside her, squeezing her hand in reassurance, “It’s fine if you don’t want to share.”

“Because I can just feel myself suffocating,” She blurted out, “I see you, hiding a part of yourself that is just so important, and I think, no offence, but do I want that to be me? Jess, I understand that you’ve sacrificed parts of your identity for your career, and I see why, but I just don’t think I’m built for that. I can’t hide myself in this place. It fucking hurts enough trying to hide how much I like you, and I don’t want to imagine how long you’ve been hurting there.”

Unable to comprehend the words that have been said, Jess blinked away tears, “I don’t understand why I put myself through this fucking mess. I could’ve left years ago, but I chose to stay. And everyday of my life I come closer to just wanting to leave, but I don’t have a backup plan Kayla, I can’t just move back home, I have to stay. That’s just how it works.” She shook her head, “Stupid, so fucking stupid.”

Kayla turned to face Jess, propped up on her elbow, and eyes glossy with tears that were threatening to spill over, “I don’t think you’re stupid, I think you’re the bravest person I know. You’ve sacrificed so much, and I have so much respect for you, but I don’t know if I can do the exact same thing,” She bit her lip, “But can I… do this?”

Leaning in ever so slowly, Jess realized what she wanted, and immediately cupped her face with both hands and kissed her back.

“Yes,” She said once the moment was over. “Literally anytime you want.”

Kayla laughed at the response as she moved back to her original position beside Jess and intertwined her hand with Jess’s.

“Do you know where you’ll go after Fox?” Jess asked?

“No fucking clue. Maybe I’ll start my own company, maybe I’ll apply for MSNBC, I don’t know and I think that’s the beauty of it. I’ll be free?”

Kayla saw Jess bite her lip out of the corner of her eye, “You could come with?” She proposed.

“Maybe… I don’t know. But I’m happy with where I am, right here right now, with you.” She said with a sympathetic grin. “I’ll figure it out sometime, but for now, I’ll be here for you.”