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no, it’s fine

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“you gotta eat something.” cady stares intently across the lunch table at janis, who definitely isn’t having this right now. 

“later.”

“now. i don’t want you to get weak and pass out or something!”

“caddy, i don’t- i can’t. not now. not in school. come over after,” she mumbles, pushing the fruit cup back over the table into cady’s hands. “we can do other stuff.” 

cady’s face flushes, and janis smiles at how easy it is to get her worked up. “okay, yeah, anything,” cady smiles back at her. “you’re still eating though,” 

janis licks her lips and looks cady up and down. “fuck yeah, i am.” 

cady has to resist pulling janis into a empty bathroom stall right then and there. “this is serious, janis...” she takes her girlfriend’s hands across the table. “you have to eat. you can’t live like this.”

janis nods, kissing cady’s hand. “i will. i promise.” she lies easily, effectively wrapping up the conversation just as damian sits down. 

-

after school, cady barely makes it into janis’ room before she’s pushed back on her bed roughly and her girlfriend is all over her. “jan-“

“you talk too much,”

“janis.” she says seriously, pushing the girl off of her and sitting up. “we’re not doing anything until you eat.” 

janis rolls her eyes. “how much.” 

“something small, i don’t care. an orange?”

“fine.”

cady perches herself on the kitchen counter and watches her girl peel the orange slowly and struggle to get every piece down, but she does. “i’m proud of you, baby, thank you.” she hops down from the counter and hugs janis tightly. “anything for you, caddy.” 

they kiss under the fluorescent lights of janis’ kitchen for who knows how long. “your room now,” cady says breathlessly into janis’ lips, squealing when janis scoops her up bridal style and carries her back to her bedroom.

-

after cady has left, janis stares at herself in the mirror. she’s still half naked from what they did earlier, and there’s hickies dotting her pale skin from her neck to her thighs. her stomach feels funny thinking about the way cady looked between her legs, and she brushes away the memory quickly so she can focus on what she came in here to do. 

kneeling in front of the toilet, the cold tile pressed against her legs, it brings her back to summers ago when she barely felt like she was alive. she stares into the empty toilet bowl blankly.

does she even want to do this? it was just an orange.

she shakes her head roughly as if to clear the thought and gathers her hair into a ponytail with one hand, jamming two fingers down her throat with the other. her eyes well up with tears as it all comes up (though there’s not much to begin with), but she keeps forcing herself to keep going until it’s all gone, just bile. she feels guilty, but clean. she feels small. weak.

as she flushes the toilet, all she can think of is how disappointed cady would be. 

Chapter Text

“you guys are gay.” damian announces as he sits down across from cady and janis. 

“school hasn’t even started. you couldn’t wait until 7:45 to call us gay?”

damian pulls out his phone and checks the time. “no way i could wait 15 minutes, jan, sorry.” 

janis rolls her eyes and cady smacks his shoulder lovingly. “you’re gayer. what’s for breakfast?”

he sighs. “well, i was going to bring bacon, but then i remembered that janis calls my vegetarian bacon ‘grass strips’ and refuses to eat them, so i brought grapes.” he pulls the ziploc out of his bag defeatedly.

janis snorts despite herself, flashing a rare smile towards her friends. “shit’s gross, damian.”

in response, damian flicks a grape at her. it hits her square in the forehead. “eat that. there’s starving kids in africa. cady would know.”

as they’re all laughing, janis puts the grape in her mouth and discretely takes it back out once cady and damian start staring at shane oman. she puts it in her pocket and takes another one from the plastic baggie to give the illusion that she’s eating.

cady notices, and smiles at her gently. “i love you,” she mouths at her. 

janis wishes she would stop staring at her so she can spit her grape out, but she doesn’t, so she’s forced to actually eat it. it sits heavy in her stomach. she presses her lips to cady’s and takes out a piece of gum just so she can scribble on the wrapper, setting the blue stick aside when cady gives her a look. she knows that janis will use the gum as an excuse to not eat. she sighs, wishing cady didn’t know so many of her tricks, and draws birds on the gum wrapper.

eventually, though, she gets bored of that too, and cady starts nudging her to eat another grape. janis is sure that if she eats another grape she’ll have to throw up in the school bathrooms which is way too risky for her. she pops a grape in her mouth as she slides her hand up cady’s thigh to her center, pressing against it with her fingers. she knows that when she’s touching cady in public, the girl is desperate to look natural, so she doesn’t even look at janis as she slips the grape out of her mouth and into her pocket. 

with that, the bell rings, and janis’ whole ordeal is over. she presses a quick kiss to cady’s cheek and smiles at her pout. they don’t have first period together, unfortunately, but after that the three of them have their next classes together. 

as they part ways, damian grabs janis by the arm and mumbles “you can’t hide it forever, jan,” into her ear. “i’m not gonna keep doing this for long, don’t worry. it’s not like she noticed today,”

the look on damian’s face is enough to shut janis up. “when you faint in front of her? when she catches you puking up everything you eat? when she finds the food you’re hiding in your napkin? she’ll notice then. when are you gonna come clean and let her help you?”

he doesn’t give her a chance to reply, just walks off to geometry, leaving janis alone with her thoughts. 

-

damian: i’m sorry

damian: i didn’t mean to go off on u or anything

damian: you’re hurting her janis

damian: it hurts her to know that she can’t help you. it hurts ME to know that i can’t help you

janis: i’ll b better

damian: will u?

janis pauses, setting her phone down and fidgeting with her pen. she thinks about it for a second. she’s been living like this off and on for how long, a year? two?

janis: i’m gunna b better damian 

janis: i just need this right now

janis: i need to be in control of something

damian is typing...

damian is typing...

damian: i love you

janis: i love you too

janis: i’m gunna b better i swear i just need like a month to get it together. i don’t like hiding this from cady either but she’ll be more upset if she knows

damian: why don’t you let her help u

janis: she’ll be pissed if she finds out about me puking

damian: she won’t

-

revenge party

damian: let’s skip the rest of 2day!! my parents aren’t home let’s watch movies

cady: sounds like fun!!!

janis: BET

janis: bet

damian: you didn’t need to say it twice skskks

janis: emphasis

cady: emphasis on this dick

janis: i-

damian: suddenly ur uninvited

damian: i’m parked outside losers cmon

-

“how do you feel?”

janis snorts at the question. “are you, like, my therapist now?”

“stop being defensive and answer the question,” cady says impatiently, “how do you feel?”

janis thinks about it for a second. “fine.” the lie rolls off her tongue. 

“janis... you cant keep doing this. you’re destroying yourself. i feel helpless,” cady starts, eyes welling up already. “this is how you must’ve felt when i was still cutting, huh?” she chuckles through her tears. 

“caddy, baby, stop it. i’m getting better. i’m trying to get better. promise.” she says gently, wiping her girlfriend’s tears with the pads of her thumbs. “i love you. thank you for helping me how you do.”

cady just kisses her, sweet and soft and gentle. 

janis feels bad for lying to her, the guilt washing over her like a wave. bad, but not bad enough to stop. she focuses on kissing cady, hardly thinking about the pit in her stomach. 

-

she thinks about it later on when she’s laying in her bed, dragging the x acto knife across her thigh. 

janis knows the truth. janis knows she can’t stop. she’s lying to cady and damian, blatantly, to their fucking faces. what kind of person does that? 

“crazy bitch,” she mumbles to herself, shaking her head and digging into her skin with the tip of the small blade. she barely winces, watching the blood drip down her leg and onto her sheets. she never was big on cutting, but she just felt like punishing herself more than usual. she decides she’ll do one more and then be done with it. 

she’s just finished the quick, deep swipe across her leg when her phone rings. the cut isn’t filling up with blood, which scares her a lot, but she recognizes by the way it looks that it’s just a dermis cut. she won’t need stitches, which is comforting. 

she glances at her phone and sees cady’s contact, making a split second decision to pick it up. 

“hello?” she relaxes at the sound of her girl’s voice and presses the blanket to her thigh to stop the bleeding. “hey, baby, what’s up?”

“you left your jacket here, you want me to bring it to you?”

janis whimpers at the pain when the blanket hits something in the cut, and cady notices (of course.). “janis? are you okay?”

“yeah, yeah, no i’m good. um, bring it to me tomorrow?”

“right,” cady says cautiously. “you’re sure you’re okay?”

“mhm,” janis says as convincingly as she can. “i’m fine, cady.” 

“okay... if you say so. um, i love you.”

“l-love you too,” janis says, going to hang up when cady speaks again.

“you don’t stutter unless you’re not okay, janis, what’s going on?”

“cady, i’m fucking fine, alright? god, if you could stop treating me like a fucking psych ward patient, maybe you could see that.” there’s a tense pause. 

“i’m coming over.” cady mumbles, and the call ends. 

Chapter Text

the first thing that janis does is rummage through her desk drawer for a bandaid. cady is probably driving here, so she doesn’t have much time to put herself together. 

put herself together. she pauses, feeling her heart sink a bit. she’s hiding so much from cady, sweet cady, cady who bared everything in front of janis at her lowest points. cady who janis found crying on her bathroom floor with cuts all over her thighs and half a bottle of sleeping pills in her stomach.

she shakes her head roughly, banging against it lightly with the heels of her palms. 

not important right now. she’ll think about it later. 

she slaps a bandaid on the cut, not bothering to clean it, and straightens out her room before sitting down- and as soon as she sits down, cady knocks, slightly irritating janis. 

“hey.” 

the greeting sits awkwardly in the air as cady pushes past her, going straight up to her room. “cady, i don’t see why you feel the need to do this.” janis pleads once she’s caught up with the girl hanging her jacket on its hook. her heart jumps a little at how well cady knows her. 

“do what? i’m just coming to check on you.”

“exactly! why do you feel like you have to come check on me?”

cady sits cross legged on janis’ bed, yawning. “i just wanna make sure you feel okay, jan. and i barely saw you today.”

janis smiles despite herself, all her anger washing away. “i was with you all day, caddy.”

the tense atmosphere melts away as she joins her girlfriend on her bed, wrapping her up in her arms. cady lets out a content sigh and presses a kiss to janis’ neck. “but i am still worried about you.”

janis squeezes her a little tighter. “i know.”

“is there a reason for me to be?”

janis looks a little bit past her and spots the bloodstain on her quilt, deciding trying to hide it would just draw attention. better to hide it in plain sight, and all that. “worried? i guess. i don’t really feel like eating sometimes.” it’s so much of an understatement it’s laughable. 

“janis...”

“i’m trying to get better.” she lies. 

“i just don’t want you to... like, ruin yourself. i barely see you eat and as much as you try to say you are, it doesn’t show.”

“so i have a fast metabolism!”

cady shakes her head solemnly, looking janis straight in the eyes. “you’re starving yourself, janis.” the words send a chill up her spine, and she finds herself really not wanting to have this conversation anymore.

“thank you for worrying, baby, but i’m okay. i’m getting better. seriously.” she says softly, pressing her lips to cady’s. the girl pulls away quickly.

“janis... are you?”

janis has had enough of this and really doesn’t want to be questioned anymore, so she slips her hands under cady’s shirt and her tongue into cady’s mouth and all mentions of eating and food and starving are gone. just how janis would like it to be all the time, she muses as she looks up at cady from between her thighs. 

Chapter Text

calculus is far from janis’ favorite class. no matter how hard she focuses, the numbers don’t make sense to her. she’s never been good at math, anyways, but she’s already gotten all the credits she needs to pass the class by cheating online.

with this in mind, she leans back in her desk and continues scribbling whales and stars and houses on fire and grapes all over what are supposed to be her notes. (she’ll get them later from the desperate lesbian who’s in love with her and steals glances at her when she thinks she’s not looking.)  

thus far, it’s been an okay day. first period she watched the second half of to kill a mockingbird on her phone (which she hid under her desk), third period she had her headphones in the whole time, and after this class she’ll have art. she smiles at the thought. it’s her favorite class by far, since she has it with cady and damian usually abuses his office aide privileges to hang out with them. 

the bell rings, jerking janis out of her thoughts. she quickly scribbles down the homework, nearly two pages of equations out of their textbook, and shoved her spiral notebook into her bookbag. she’s nearly out of the class when she sees it.

cady’s locker, framed by obnoxiously laughing jocks, adorned with nude photos of someone who definitely isn’t cady and pictures of lions and such. the rush of anger fills janis’s veins before she’s even processed the scene in front of her, and she sees cady out of the corner of her eye making her way down the hall. 

she rushes forwards, swinging her jansport off of her shoulders to bring it down right on one of the boys’ heads. she vaguely hears him grunt as she throws her fist at his nose. she feels the crunch before she sees the blood come gushing out of his nostrils. 

suddenly, hands are wrapping around her middle, and she whips around to see the other jock struggling to drag her away. without even thinking, she claws at his face, feeling one of her nails break but not really caring. “fucking psycho DYKE!” he spits as he stumbles away from her, and she turns to see the first kid wiping his nose and getting ready to run at her. thankfully, his sense of balance has been thrown off and he misses her by nearly a foot. 

behind him, cady is watching the scene unfold. she gives janis a shocked look, and damian emerges right as she’s about to yell something to her. he wraps his arm around cady’s shoulders and walks her away. 

janis has been standing still for too long, she learns as she feels the punch collide with the back of her head. all her previous bravado fizzles away, and she’s suddenly not strong anymore. she’s frail, and weak, and sullenly wishes she would’ve eaten this morning. the last thing she sees is white, and cady and damian’s shoes shuffling down the hall away from her. 

-

“you’re very lucky that he’s not pressing charges. you broke his nose in four different places, ms. sarkisian.”

janis bites the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling at mr. duvall as she gets lectured about the importance of keeping your temper. 

-

she gets off easy- her parents understand, and mr. duvall is still scared of her mother after the fourth grade space dyke debacle. she’s sentenced to community service that she already had to complete to graduate. oh, the humanity. 

cady isn’t quite as forgiving.

“how could you do that to them, janis?” she says miserably as she traces the bruises left on janis with her fingers. “you looked... you looked animalistic, like, primal, like... that wasn’t you.”

“i was defending your honor.” janis grumbles, eating animal crackers per cady’s request. 

“they weren’t even my pictures, you know that.”

“yeah, of course i did. the birthmarks weren’t there.” janis smiles, glancing at cady. “you’d think they’d pay more attention to detail.”

this gets cady to laugh. janis gets butterflies, as usual. 

“have you been eating?”

janis groans. “do you have to bring this up all the time?”

“well, you should be eating all the time. so, yes.”

“seriously, baby, i don’t wanna talk about this right now. you know i’m trying.”

“yeah, i know you’re trying, you’re like a broken frickin’ record about it. but nothing is showing. i’ve been trying to be patient and everything because i know how hard it is-“ 

janis stiffens.

“i’m sorry. i shouldn’t have said that. i just mean, with me cutting last year-“ cady’s voice catches. “we don’t have to talk about it. i’m sorry. i just need you,” she grabs janis’s hands in her own, wringing them softly. “i need you to be better, my love.” 

by the time cady falls asleep in her arms, janis makes herself a promise as she stares out the window at the setting sun. better. for cady.

-

that promise lasts all of two days. janis has been eating enough, and that’s exactly what brings her down.

it’s after lunch, and everyone has left the cafeteria. the hallways are vacant, as everyone’s gone to class. janis locks herself in a bathroom stall and stares at the wall, flinching when the bell rings. 

she feels sick, to say the least. she ate way too much, way too many bites of the salad she shoved onto her plate, and she’s paying the price for it now. she feels like she’s going to literally explode if this doesn’t come out of her right now.

she grabs all her hair back, wincing a bit as she shoves her fingers down her throat and her nails scrape the back of it a bit. 

it’s more than a bit, she realizes as blood swirls into the toilet water and the remains of her lunch. “great.” she grumbles as she grabs toilet paper to wipe her mouth on and goes to flush the toilet. 

“janis?”

cady’s voice rings out through the bathroom. janis freezes. she’s absolutely still until cady’s shoes appear in front of the gap under the bathroom stall.

Chapter Text

it’s at times like these that janis thinks she knew cady was different from the moment she saw her, august 18th, the first day at north shore. her and damian sat and watched cady try to invade multiple cliques, watching her jokes flop and the determination in her eyes which isn’t unlike what janis sees right now, standing in front of her in the bathroom stall. 

“oh, janis...”

the reality of the situation catches up to her, and the guilt is suddenly suffocating. the tears bubble up before she can stop them, and she stands up quickly and tries to push past cady. 

cady doesn’t stop her much, just touches her waist lightly. “cmon, sugar...” she cups janis’s face tenderly, kissing her like she’s a porcelain doll about to bust into a million pieces. 

it makes janis feel like she’s going to. 

and honestly, she wishes she could just leave this stupid stall and this stupid school and just disappear, but cady’s too warm and inviting. she melts into her easily, cady’s arms wrapping around her and rubbing her back, soothing words whispered in her ear. eventually, they’re sitting on the floor with janis all curled up in cady’s lap pathetically. if she listens really closely, which isn’t hard in this silent bathroom, she can hear and feel cady’s heart thump thump thumping.

“i’m sorry, i’m so sorry, cady-“

cady stiffens under her, lifting janis’s chin so she has to look at her.

“don’t be sorry.”

which just makes janis cry more, and the only thing that makes her stop for a second is when cady reaches past her to flush the literal vomit in the toilet. she laughs, more tears than anything. “god, i’m so sorry, cady, baby, fuck-“

“janis, don’t be.” she says firmly. 

“i should be! god, fuck, you’re so loving and supportive and i’m just this fucking nutcase, and you deserve so much better than me-“

cady cuts her off with a kiss, and it’s short but janis feels the love that was meant in it. she decides to shut up. another conversation for another day. “i’m sorry. i just love you.”

“i love you too, janis. so much. you’re staying over tonight.” and then cady just holds her for a little longer before calling damian. they decide to skip the rest of the day.

-

“let’s go out.” janis says, out of nowhere when the car gets quiet. “let’s go out to eat.” she steals a glance at the rest of the car, taking her eyes off the road for a second.

the concerned looks from her best friend and girlfriend would be funnier if they weren’t so justified. 

“seriously. let’s hit moonlight diner, okay? i’ll eat and not puke it up.” they hit a red light, and she picks at the edge of her chewed index fingernail. “wanna get better. that starts with being able to eat a meal.”

cady takes a breath to say something, but doesn’t protest, and soon enough they’re piled into a booth at moonlight diner. 

“can i have the number 6?” the words feel good coming out of janis’s mouth. a new start. she smiles despite herself, and cady gives her thigh a gentle squeeze. 

a new start, janis decides as she piles another bite of pancakes into her mouth.