It happened slowly, in Jules's mind. After her mother's absolute blow out at the wedding, she had thought quite a bit about her own preferences. She'd had that horrible crush on Joe, of course, which seemed to place her into the strait category, but ever since the finals, she thought more and more of Jess. And there was that one time that she and Mel had practiced kissing in the locker room after practice, but they'd both agreed that it was a strictly friendly non-gay thing. Now she had to wonder.
Looking back on it now, Jules had to wonder if maybe she hadn't been so upset to see Jess and Joe kiss because she had feelings for Joe. Maybe she had been so upset because the person he had been kissing was Jess.
And it wasn't like she was attracted to every woman or girl that she saw, Jules consoled herself. The only ones that she really noticed were Jess, and one girl in her Sociology Lecture class who's name Jules didn't even know.
She wasn't sure if thinking that two girls were attractive made her a lesbian, but Jules did know that it was something that she could never share with Jess. The Indian girl was already so sheltered by her upbringing, and there had been that horrible fight over Joe, who she was now dating...
No, Jules couldn't tell Jess.
She just had to deal with her feelings on her own, and just be a friend - best friends, really - with Jess. That would be enough.
Jess couldn't believe how fast her life was changing. It seemed like only days ago that she was playing football in the park, and suddenly she had joined the Harriers, Pinky had gotten married, and Jess had come to Santa Clara all the way in America!
Jess still spoke and wrote to Tony often, as he was still her best friend, aside from Jules. She was still shocked that he had been willing to give up everything - to marry her despite his own preferences - just so that she could go to school in the United States. And that was another thing that Jess was still trying to come to terms with. Tony was gay. He liked other boys, instead of liking girls. It wasn't that she had never heard of gay people, but nice Indian families didn't talk about them. Nice Indian girls married nice Indian boys, and there was no room for deviation from that rule.
But then, there had been no deviation from the rule that nice Indian girls didn't play football or go all the way to America to go to school, especially unmarried. And yet, here Jess was - 8700 kilometres away from her family - living in a dorm room with Jules and playing football every day. And in a proper stadium, no less! Why even the boy's team didn't win as often as they did!
They had taken a team photo last week, and Jess had gotten a nice frame for it at the store today to put it in. She was going to bring it home with her when she went back for winter holiday. She knew that Jules was staying in California and going on a road trip with a few of the other girls from the team, but Jess couldn't imagine not going home for the holiday.
She was not desperately homesick, but she admitted that she missed her family quite a bit. And when Pinky had called last weekend she had announced that she was pregnant! Already she was going to be giving Jess a little niece or nephew to play with. Jess had a momentary thought of buying the child a football, but she was still a bit afraid of how her mum would react. It was a monumental enough step that she was allowed to go to Santa Clara at all, but Jess didn't want to press her luck by immediately teaching her niece to play.
Jess also wanted to go back home so that she could see Joe, but it was not the all consuming reason. She was surprised to find that Joe was slipping further and further from her thoughts. Once she had been sure that she would be heartbroken if she had had to reject him again, but now she found that she barely thought of him.
It could have simply been that she was too consumed with her classes and practices, and living on her own for the first time to even think about anything social, like dating. But there was also the fact that Jess was no longer living a life of secrecy and rebellion.
She had been rebelling against her parents in so many ways - playing football, not wanting to be a solicitor, going to Germany, and even dating a goreh. But now, her parents knew about the football, and they had even let her go all the way to California to study whatever she wanted. She wouldn't have to become a solicitor now; she could be a teacher or a coach or a scientist or anything! And after all that, Jess felt that the excitement of dating Joe was wearing a little thin.
She hoped that it didn't mean that she was ridiculously fickle, like Bubbly and those others. Tony thought that it meant that she was just getting more of a sense of her tastes, without her mother dominating her. Jess was afraid that while she did respect Joe as her coach, and like him as a friend, the only reason she had been dating him was as a subtle rebellion against her parents. And now, without the need to constantly fight against their strict rules, she had lost her romantic interest in him.
More and more often she found her thoughts turning towards Jules. Those awful few weeks when they had fought, and their occasional weekend-long spats now, felt far more painful than the distance between her and Joe. It could have been a result of their closeness - Jules was her best female friend - but these feelings were different than those that she had for Tony and Pinky and Joe. They were stronger.
Her response to Tony's confession - But you're Indian! - rang in her head any time that Jess thought about her confusion of feelings. She wasn't certain that she was brave enough to tell anyone - even Tony - that she might be even more rebellious than her parents thought. That was an idea that had to be banished - even in her own mind. It was bad enough that she wanted to play football, but what if she was also a lesbian?