Lisa tightens her grip on the water bottle in her hand.
She doesn’t know why she feels so nervous but she does.
She does a quick armpit check and after confirming that no, she's not sweating through her sweatshirt and yes, her deodorant is still fragrant, she deems the coast clear.
Just go over there, she tells herself. “I’m trying to!” she whispers.
A girl, grabbing a book down from the shelf, briefly looks at her and Lisa winces when she tries to smile at the girl but she turns around and walks away.
“I need to stop talking to myself,” she sighs. “Like now. Okay, now.”
She pinches the bridge of her nose and takes a deep breath. With her eyes closed, it’s easier to imagine that she’s not here. That she’s behind the safety of her bedroom doors, probably on the second season of The Flash and eating Cheetos under her blankets.
Fuck, she really wants to be home right now.
But no. No, no, no. She’s got to do something first.
When Lisa opens her eyes, she squares her shoulders and briefly adjusts the straps of her backpack before walking towards the last table against the far wall. She tries to make it to the table as smoothly as possible but of course, of-fucking-course, she can’t do anything right, like walk in a straight line. Just as she’s approaching the table, she runs into the back of a chair and winces as she grabs her hip. The chair almost topples over, so she grabs it quickly, the legs making a sharp squeaking noise as a few people look over at her.
Jennie does too and Lisa has to hurriedly push the chair back in before she limps the rest of the way to the table.
The older girl is staring at her unimpressed and Lisa turns even redder if that's possible. She’s probably gonna need to walk this off but she can worry about that when she has to go to practice later today.
“I got you this,” she says and pushes the water bottle across the table before swinging her backpack forward and dumping it on the table. She quickly unzips the front pocket and takes out a small bag of Doritos and a Ziploc bag she stuffed with grapes. “And this,” she says passing it over to her.
Jennie looks at the contents before closing her economics book shut and pushing her notebook away. Her different colored gel pens all roll across the table as she moves her stuff and the eraser that Lisa had let her use during second period is halfway done.
Jennie really struggles with economics.
“You know I only eat Cool Ranch, right?” Jennie pouts.
Lisa deflates and tries to reach across the table to grab it, but Jennie is faster, snatching it up and holding it to her chest.
“Ungrateful,” Lisa mutters. “I know that,” she sighs. “But they were all out, besides you like Nacho Cheese. You almost inhaled the entire bag the last time we were at my house.”
Jennie frowns and looks down at the small bag before sighing and reluctantly ripping it open. “Can you at least buy me some on our way home?”
Lisa really shouldn’t. She really wanted to buy the next issue of this manga that she was currently reading, but perhaps she could just ask her dad for some money. It wouldn’t hurt.
“Fine,” she sighs and dramatically slumps face down on the table.
She may or may not open one of her eyes to see Jennie’s small smile on her face and she may or may not put her face back down to smile into the wood.
Lisa and Jennie have been best friends since second grade when this little girl pushed Lisa off the swings and Jennie punched her in the mouth.
She didn’t even have time to cry because she couldn’t believe that the short girl with the PowerPuff Girls backpack and the light up sneakers could punch someone like that. Granted, Jennie did have to sit in time out for the rest of the day and she did get her color changed to red, but their friendship was forever cemented that day.
They had watched their first scary movie together in third grade. It was at Jennie’s older sister’s insistence, putting in The Conjuring, while Lisa had stayed the night because it was a sleepover. Underneath a mound of blankets and a large bowl of popcorn, not only had Jennie screamed throughout the entire thing, but Lisa had even cried because Jennie’s screaming was freaking her out so much.
In fourth grade, when Lisa had gotten a kitten, Jennie had named her Luna because she was ‘white like the moon.’ She had watched for days as Jennie would come over and play with her, letting her lick her fingers and rub up against her legs. She thought it was weird when Jennie wasn’t around and all Luna would do is scratch sadly at the door.
In fifth grade, Jennie’s dad died. A drunk driver had rear-ended him while he was stopped at a red light. The impact had killed him instantly. Lisa didn’t know a lot about death at that point. She had seen it on TV and read about it in books, but she had never seen it personally. She would watch Jennie cry as they walked home and she would stare at her when she would refuse to eat anything at lunchtime.
When she went to the funeral, Jennie made her sit next to her and she held her hand so tightly that it hurt, but Lisa didn’t say anything. She thought that his funeral was beautiful, if funerals could even be described that way. They used a really nice picture, one that made him look really young. He had the same eyes as Jennie and the same smile that she wore when she was happy. His casket was a black polished color with white roses adorning the outside. There were so many flowers that Lisa thought they could have grown around him.
When they started middle school, Lisa and Jennie both joined the swim team, but mostly because they liked being in the water so much. Jennie wasn’t very good at it but she only wanted to hang out with Lisa, well, that’s what she had told her anyway. Lisa, however, was their middle school’s ace and lead them to numerous small division and district-wide championships.
For some reason, it always made her happy to see Jennie smile at her like that whenever she was awarded a medal.
In seventh grade, they learn about sexual education in biology and while all the boys laugh and some of the girls cover their ears, Lisa is actually interested. She listens as the teacher displays different diagrams of the female body, pointing to certain areas and explaining what can happen if they’re stimulated.
Lisa thinks that’s a funny word. When she goes home, she undresses in front of her bathroom mirror and stares at herself for ten minutes. Her boobs aren’t like the ones in the video, in all honesty, it looks like the chest of the boy from the diagram.
When she walks to school, she tries to imagine what Jennie might look like underneath her clothes. It’s weird at first, and she feels bad about it, but she keeps that to herself.
In eighth grade, there’s a dance to celebrate all the students that will transition to high school next year. The gymnasium is decorated in streamers, silver-colored balloons, and a disco ball that lights up the floor in a multitude of colors. The music is pretty good and the punch is actually tasty. Lisa remembers standing off to the side awkwardly, rubbing her hands against the dress that her mom had forced her in and scuffing her flats against the floor. She had come earlier than she wanted and no one else was dancing. Everyone was either talking or sitting at the tables and playing games.
When Jennie had finally arrived, Lisa choked on her fruit punch and spilled some on her dress, hurriedly trying to wipe it away with a handful of napkins.
She was just- she looked really, really pretty. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her bangs were curled and pushed to the side. She was wearing a black dress that had rose petal designs on the bottom and a white cardigan over it. It was like her feet were meant to walk over to Lisa, like she knew where she was despite all the students in the gym.
When she smiled at her, Lisa knew that she would never meet a girl prettier than Jennie Kim.
During their freshman year of high school, Lisa realizes that she probably like girls and by girls, she means one and by one, she means Jennie Kim.
Over the summer, Jennie had gotten braces and although she had been upset about it at the start of the school year, Lisa had thought she was the cutest person at Stone Mountain High. Whenever she would talk, Lisa would watch her mouth move and imagine what it would be like to kiss her sometimes. It was a weird feeling at first, to think of Jennie like that. She tried to push it away, maybe she was just going through something, a phase, what she had heard a teacher describe it once. But it was constantly on her mind and she thought about it all the time. At first, she looked at the girls in the magazines and thought would it be like to hold their hands or probably laugh at one of their jokes.
Then she would watch videos on YouTube and scrub backward on the parts where the girls would kiss each other and imagine what it would be like to do that.
When she told Jennie that she liked girls, she had looked shocked and it almost made Lisa cry. She had read through a thread of conversations in this support group thing and it made her feel good at first, but now she was just afraid.
When she almost felt like crying because Jennie still hadn’t said anything, she felt the girl grab her hand and lace their fingers together.
Somehow that action had said more than words could ever.
In tenth grade, Lisa kisses her first girl and it’s not Jennie. Her name is Rachel and she’s Vietnamese. They hold hands outside the 7-Eleven across the street from the elementary school and she tastes like cherry cola and Laffy-Taffy.
The kiss is nice but it doesn’t feel like anything miraculous or extraordinary, at least not how she envisioned it in her own head.
When she tells Jennie about it, she doesn’t realize that Jennie isn’t listening and she doesn’t make a big deal out of it when Jennie leaves her house either.
In the eleventh grade, Lisa is chosen as the captain of the swim team and Jennie finds out she's pregnant.
“My mom gave me fifty dollars this morning, so I’m going to the mall. Do you wanna come with?”
Lisa chokes on the granola bar that is halfway in her mouth. She dusts the crumbs away from her mouth and adjusts the strap of her backpack on her shoulder.
“Did you just say fifty bucks? But I just bought you Nacho Cheese Doritos! And those snacks earlier when we were in the library!” she whines.
They’re already walking in the opposite direction of their neighborhood, towards the subway station at the end of the street and Lisa really wants to cry.
“I didn’t ask you to buy that for me,” she shrugs.
Lisa gapes and literally stops in her tracks, her sneakers scuffing against the pavement as Jennie keeps walking ahead and only stops when she realizes that Lisa isn’t beside her.
“Yes you did!” she shouts, pointing her finger accusingly. “You literally said, ‘Lisa, please buy me something to eat so I don’t starve today.’
In retrospect, she should have pointed out to Jennie that there was no way she could literally starve because she had eaten breakfast at her house this morning and her dad had prepared a feast for both girls. Lisa complained that she would throw up at swim practice if she ate anymore so Jennie had eaten her share too.
Not to mention, Jennie’s mom always packed her favorite food for lunch, so she had literally eaten an hour before she complained at Lisa to buy her some snacks. Now that she thought about it, she wonders why she didn’t just say no.
God, she’s such a fucking idiot.
Jennie has the audacity to laugh, to actually laugh behind her cute fingers and her freshly painted red nails like it’s the funniest thing ever. “I’m sorry,” she giggles. “Come on,” she says and holds her hand out to Lisa.
“I’ll buy you the new issue of that manga you’re reading and we can get fried chicken!” she beams.
Lisa can’t even- she can’t even be mad anymore. Fuck! She really wants to say not, like she really wanted to be dramatic and roll her eyes and turn around and walk all the way home.
One, she can’t though because it’s physically impossible to be mad at her. Like she can’t even remember if she and Jennie have ever fought in all nine years together.
Two, she never lets Jennie walk anywhere by herself. She’s tall and she can fight a little bit, so she kinda has to protect her and the baby. Jennie had laughed at her the first time she told her that by their lockers and yeah, Jennie can probably throw a better punch than her but Lisa still has three inches on her, so she still wins.
Three, the love of her life is bribing her with manga. She may be immune to a lot of things but not manga, well, and Jennie. So Jennie and mangas are things she can’t resist. So begrudgingly, she stomps over toward her best friend/ love of her life and takes her hand. She even laces their fingers together and she’s surprised that Jennie doesn’t say anything.
“I really want to slap you right now but I don’t want to hurt your baby,” she mutters.
Jennie hums with a small smile on her face and strokes her small bump with a hand.
Lisa remembers the party like it was yesterday. It was in July, a month before the school year would start and she and Jennie would be juniors.
Lisa didn’t really like going to parties, there was always too much weed, too much booze, and the music was never good. This party wasn’t that much different, it was actually really crowded, so crowded that there were people spilling out into the backyard and some standing in the front smoking pot.
Jennie had been invited by her friends in the mathletes club and after an hour of getting ready and then getting lost, they had finally made it to Hanbin’s house.
“This looks lame,” Lisa had muttered and rolled her eyes when a girl stumbled down the front steps laughing loudly.
She had thought of a million other things they could have been doing. Stuff like finally finishing season 2 of Stranger Things, or eating the leftover pad thai that her mom had made the other night, or god forbid watch Jennie play FortNite for three hours straight.
Anything but this.
“Let’s just drink a little and say hi to everyone. We don’t socialize enough.”
“I socialize with you,” Lisa stressed. “That’s enough for me,” and when she looks away she doesn’t see the way that Jennie blushes underneath the lights.
When they had walked up to the house and made their way through the crowd of bodies, it looked like any other regular party. There were people leaning against the wall, some talking and others kissing with their hands grabbing any piece of skin they could reach. The music was lame, as Lisa had suspected, but there was a group of people dancing in the middle of the living room and some of them hollering when one of the kids attempted to start a dance battle. They migrated to the kitchen where all the beer was and it was even more crowded in there.
Red cups were situated on the dining table for a game of beer pong and a group of guys and a few girls were crammed around the table getting ready to play. A few people were sitting around the kitchen either eating snacks or smoking by the sink.
Jennie had tugged her arm and lead her to the counter where she grabbed two bottles and quickly lead them out to a separate room attached to the kitchen. There weren’t many people in there, not with everyone either out in the backyard, playing beer pong, or dancing.
They had sat at one of the couches on the far wall and it was too small for two people but they made it work. The music wasn’t as loud over here, only the vibrations causing the wall to thump and there were only two other people sitting down as well but they were both passed out.
Jennie opened both bottles of beer for them and passed one to Lisa before shyly clinking their drinks together.
“What are we drinking to?” Lisa had snorted.
“Being juniors,” Jennie smiled and she let her hand splay against Lisa’s leg, something that the younger girl didn’t question.
When she took a drink, she swallowed it and cringed at the sour taste in the back of her throat. It tasted really really bad and she kind of wish that she would have grabbed a Capri-Sun instead. Jennie had to have seen her face because when she set her beer down, she giggled and poked her cheek.
“It’s pretty gross, huh?”
“This is so nasty,” she groaned and set hers down too. “Did you have fun? Great! Let’s go now,” she said and made a move to stand up but Jennie yanked on the back of her t-shirt, causing her to fall back on the couch.
Lisa had whined, kicking her legs in front of her like a little child and yeah, she was seventeen, not seven but still. She really didn’t want to be here.
“Just one hour, please Lalisa,” Jennie says and the Thai girl really hates that. Like on a scale of one to ten, this is an eleven. She hates when Jennie says her full name because one, she knows that Lisa can’t resist that and two, it sounds really nice when she says it. Like better than when her mom says it and that’s really something.
This is a fight that she won’t win and when she pinches the bridge of her nose with a heavy sigh, she accepts it and Jennie accepts it.
"I hate when I let you talk me into things," she grumbled.
"You're just weak," she cackled.
Lisa lifted her beer back off of the floor and snorted before she took a sip. If only Jennie knew. Yeah, she is weak. She's weak for Jennie. She's weak for the way that she smiles when she gets her way. She's weak for how warm Jennie's arm feels as it presses against her own. She's weak for the way her perfume smells every time she turns her head and when she tightens her grip on the neck of the bottle, she prays that Jennie doesn't notice it.
'I like you,' she wants to say.
When Jennie turns her head and grins at her, she thinks of how easy it would be. How effortlessly she could love her. She wants to do that. She wants to love Jennie, but she's afraid. She's afraid that if she does, it'll completely ruin what they have. They're friends before anything else. She just hates how much her heart hurts when she thinks that it's probably all they've ever be.
It isn't fair. It isn't fair that Lisa is ridiculously in love with this girl and she doesn't know how to get it off her chest.
"Let's walk around and see if we recognize anyone here," Jennie suggests. She moves to stand up and offers her hand to Lisa, one that the girl takes and she almost chokes when Jennie laces their fingers together.
They had maneuvered around a throng of people for most of the night. Either talking to friends over stupid shit, cheering on Jackson as he tried to talk to his crush, Mark, only to be turned down, and laughed at one of the kids accidentally falling into a pool and taking his friend down with him. As the night wore on, Lisa hated to admit it but it was kinda fun.
Jennie had managed to grab them some more beers and they migrated to the backyard, leaning against the back of the house as the wind picked up and she could hear crickets in the distance.
“You’re smiling,” Jennie had pointed out.
Lisa took a swig from her beer and rubbed her hands on the glass before shrugging her shoulders and laughing when Jennie threatened to slap her. “Just admit that you’re enjoying yourself.”
“I hate you, I’m seriously going to leave you right here.”
“You leave me and I’ll pick you up and toss you in that pool.”
“You toss me in that pool and I won’t be your best friend anymore.”
“That was a low blow,” Lisa frowned. “You know I don’t have any friends other than you,” she whined.
Jennie laughed and lifted her beer to her lips, a small smile hiding behind the rim of the glass as she took a sip. Lisa thinks that she should probably look away now that the joke is over but she can’t. Not when Jennie is still looking at her, not when she’s holding the bottle at her waist and she looks so pretty under the lights that hang in their backyard. Lisa had unconsciously licked her lips and balled her fist at her side, in a weird way it was almost like half of the student body in the backyard didn’t exist. She saw the way the wind ruffled the high waisted skirt she was wearing and she looked at the white strapless top that she had envisioned tracing her fingertips over so many times on Jennie. Her hair was curled and pulled back in a ponytail and her cheeks were red from the alcohol and Lisa knew, she just knew.
She was in love with her. She was so damn in love with her and wanted to tell her.
She almost opened her mouth, she probably did part her lips, but there was always something in the way and it came in the form of Bobby Kim.
Lisa hated that guy.
He was Korean-American but he had spent most of his life in the United States and he never missed an opportunity to point that out to somebody. He was loud, obnoxious, and played basketball for the high school team. He was so good that Lisa couldn’t even talk about his skills because they were always winning trophies. He and Jennie had this weird thing going on where they would talk and hang out and although Jennie had told Lisa that they weren’t dating, she didn’t know what else to call it. When Bobby had interjected in the middle of Lisa about to pour her heart out on her sleeve, Jennie had looked away and smiled, it was forced obviously, but Lisa hated it anyway.
“I didn’t know you were coming,” Bobby said to Jennie, ignoring Lisa.
“Mmh,” she nodded. “Lisa and I came together.”
It gave the Thai girl some weird satisfaction to see Bobby roll his eyes.
“Well-” he bit his lip and rubbed his hands together. “Do you want a drink?”
“I already have one,” she said and showed it to him.
Bobby slumped his shoulders but Lisa knew that he wouldn’t give up. He didn’t know how to take no for an answer and she thinks that was her biggest issue with him. Bobby could never take hints when someone didn’t want to be around him. He couldn’t take hints when someone didn’t want to hear what he had to say. He didn’t know how to back down when someone refused him.
The shout was so loud that she dropped her beer, the bottle falling on the grass as the cold liquid trickled out.
It was her teammates on the swim team. They still had their tracksuits on, probably from a late swim practice. Seulgi was in front, a glass of something red in her hand that sloshed around as she walked over. Vernon was behind her as well, followed by Junhui, Momo, Sana, and Mingyu.
“Hey guys,” she smiled and moved from her place on the wall so she was standing closer to Jennie. “What’s up?”
“Mingyu’s boyfriend, Wonwoo is about to play beer pong. Wanna come watch? He says he has a low alcohol tolerance so he’ll probably puke,” Seulgi snorted.
“No thanks,” she shook her head but Vernon was already protesting loudly and yanking on her arm to come along.
She turned back to look at Jennie but Bobby was holding her wrist in his hands and forcing her to look at him as he touched her chin. When Vernon yanked her into the throng of her teammates, that was the last time she had seen Jennie that night.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy before,” Jennie snorted.
Lisa sighs happily, holding up the fifth issue of My Hero Academia in her hands before pressing it to her chest and being careful not to squeeze it so she doesn’t damage the pages.
She wouldn’t be wrong per se, but Lisa was actually also pretty happy that one time in sixth grade when they were playing dodgeball and Jennie was the team leader and she had picked Lisa first.
She was ridiculously happy that day. Jennie just couldn’t tell with the whole ice pack thing in the way. But she keeps that to herself.
“You don’t understand,” Lisa stresses and peeks up at Jennie, “I’ve been waiting for this for weeks.”
She kind of wants to kiss Jennie, just on her cheek though but she doesn’t want it to be weird. Would that be weird? I mean, they hold hands sometimes. But maybe Jennie wouldn’t like that if she did it so unannounced. Yeah, she probably shouldn’t do that.
“...sa. Lisa?” Jennie says waving her hand in front of her face.
“You spacing out on me?”
“Sorry,” she flushes and continues to walk beside Jennie as they round the corner in the crowded shopping mall.
“What were you thinking so hard about?”
“Nothing,” she shakes her head.
There’s a store with stickers of colorful blocks plastered on the large windows and a sign that reads YOUR LITTLE ONE’S CORNER in pastel colors on the front. Everything is small, and plush, and absolutely the perfect place to find something for a baby. There are three other women shopping in the store, both of them older, while the other woman looks young with a baby strapped to her chest.
The lady looking at dresses on the wall briefly glances at Jennie and she does a double take when she sees the uniform that both girls are wearing and the size of Jennie’s stomach. Her scoff is louder than the soft music that plays overhead but Jennie ignores it, she’s used to it by now.
Jennie’s mom had brought the major things stuff like a crib, a car seat, a bassinet, a changing table, and bottles, but she had left the clothes shopping and toy buying to her daughter. When Jennie walks off to look at a yellow and orange patterned onesie, she held it up to Lisa and smiled.
“It’s cute, right?”
“It is,” she hums and looks around the store. There’s a section of toys on the other side. A shelf full of Toy Story themed pacifiers, diapers, toys, and sippy cups. There’s a rocking horse pushed into the corner and a small bookcase of picture books and a giant stuffed panda leaning against a display rack.
Lisa picks up a stuffed pink bear with large black eyes and a smile stitched on its face that makes her grin.
“Can I buy this for you?” she asks Jennie when she finds her picking up a bag of bibs.
She looks at the pink bear that Lisa shows her and smiles. Her smile is so beautiful that Lisa wants to buy all the stuffed bears and just give them to her. Just have it shipped to her house and stuffed in her room.
“It’s really cute,” she chuckles and nods. “Do you like it?” she asks her stomach, rubbing it gently.
“Of course, I like it mommy,” she says in a high-pitched voice. She giggles to herself like it’s the funniest thing ever and yeah, Lisa is not only going to buy this bear, but she’s also gonna buy the black one too. It can be a matching set.
When they go to the register to pay for the stuff, the woman at the counter rings up their things and politely asks Jennie how far along she is.
“Four months,” she says holding up four fingers.
“Congratulations,” she smiles and as she’s about to scan the two different bears, Lisa holds out a ten dollar bill and ignores the confused look that Jennie gives her.
“These are separate,” she says.
“But my mom gave us fifty-”
“They’re separate,” she tells the lady again.
The woman looks between both of them, her hand froze in mid-air as she holds the teddy bear before she nods hesitantly.
When Jennie had told her she was pregnant it felt like the universe was playing a cruel prank on her.
She had come over much like any other day, except she looked off. She was wearing a large hoodie and she had bags underneath her eyes that looked like she hadn’t been sleeping very well. Lisa let her sit on her computer chair, pulling her legs up like she always does while she sat on the edge of her bed.
For a while, they didn’t say anything to each other. It wasn’t until Jennie pulled out what looked like a small piece of paper and handed it to Lisa that she found out.
“I thought I had a virus,” she said and her voice shook as she stared at the picture in Lisa’s hand.
It was an ultrasound picture.
Lisa didn’t really know what to look at, all she could see was a really tiny gray blob and an arrow pointing at it so she assumed that must be the baby. She swallowed what felt like bricks in her throat and stared at the picture like it was a joke, like it was some stupid joke.
“I kept throwing up and my mom finally took me to the hospital. They took a urine sample and a blood test and after a couple of hours, the doctor told me I was six weeks along.”
Lisa refused to look at her.
It was like all the blood was rushing to her head and she couldn’t think straight. She held the picture in her hands but what she really wanted to do was give it back. She didn’t even want to hold the ultrasound picture. She didn’t want to look at it. She didn’t even want to listen to what she was saying.
Screw it, if that made her a bad friend. She felt hurt. Like truly, deeply hurt. She felt like someone had sucker punched her in the gut and kicked her into the ground.
She was pissed. That’s what it was.
She wanted to scream. She wanted to kick her out of her house honestly. It felt like every emotion that she had every felt wanted to come out. She wanted to cry and she wanted to scream and she wanted to be away from Jennie.
What a stupid girl. How dumb do you have to be to get yourself pregnant? In high school of all times? She had ground her teeth and passed the photo back to her, watching as she stuck it back inside the pocket of her hoodie and laid her hand over it.
They didn’t say anything.
Lisa wouldn’t dare say any of the things that she was thinking in her own head.
Jennie was quiet and picking at the material of her hoodie, her pink nail polish was chipped and some of her nails looked irritated and uneven as if she had been biting them. That was something she only did when she was anxious.
It felt like hours had passed before Jennie had coughed and straightened up in the chair but really it was probably only a few minutes. “Why aren’t you saying anything?”
“What do you want me to say?” Lisa said and she didn’t mean for it to come out so harsh but she couldn’t help it.
“Congratulations? Is that want you want to hear?” she shook her head. “Are you even keeping it?”
Jennie had flinched, her eyes cast downward as she tongued the inside of her cheek before moving out of the chair and wiping her eyes so Lisa wouldn’t see her cry.
“Fuck you,” she muttered and slammed the door to her bedroom behind her.
Lisa had watched her leave and didn’t even have the guts to go after her and apologize.
They didn’t talk for a week, probably the longest amount of time that they’ve ever gone without speaking to each other. Over the weekend, Lisa had grown increasingly guilty, mad at herself for saying something so careless and out of line. Every time she looked at her phone and her finger hovered over Jennie’s name, she felt like she deserved to be punched.
What kind of best friend says something like that? Regardless of how she feels about her, Jennie came to tell her something incredibly personal, something that was a big deal and she had let her own feelings get in the way and said some stupid shit.
After packing a bag, she went to the E-Mart and bought a whole bunch of snacks, almost a hundred dollars worth of junk food and walked all the way to Jennie’s house, climbing over her backyard fence and standing where her bedroom was located before throwing a rock at it.
She had to have thrown five rocks before the light flickered on in her room and then the blinds were pulled open as she slid the window open.
“Go away!” she whispered. “I hate you!”
“No, you don’t!” Lisa shouted quietly. “Look, I’m sorry okay? What I said, it wasn’t right and I’m sorry!”
Jennie was holding onto the windowsill and she kind of looked like she wanted to shut the window. She certainly didn’t look convinced that Lisa was apologetic and honestly she deserved that.
Lisa pursed her lips and quickly swung her backpack to the front so she could unzip it and grab a pack of chips out before holding it in the air.
“Please” she begged. “I’m sorry! And if you let me up, we can share all of this,” and when Jennie scoffed, Lisa quickly backpedaled, “or you can have it!”
She stood there for a long minute, watching Jennie’s facial expressions and praying to whatever God was out there that Jennie didn’t shut her window, close the blinds, and go back to bed. If she did, she would probably die.
She probably looks really pathetic because Jennie rolls her eyes before waving her hand for her to climb up.
Lisa beams and quickly zips her backpack up before turning it around and running over to the side of the house to grab the ladder next to the shed. As she sets it against the house, she climbs up and throws her bags inside the room before climbing in and shutting the window softly behind her.
The entire room is dark minus the soft light coming from the lamp next to her bed. Everything still looks the same. Her vanity covered in bottles of toner, moisturizers and different cleansers. There's still a stack of books on the floor next to her desk, scattered papers of homework, and the different colored cups full of pens and highlights in their respective places. The only thing is that there’s a trash can next to her bed, probably for the morning sickness. Jennie is shuffling across the room in a large t-shirt and socks and Lisa tries not to stare at her because things are still awkward and now is not the time to think about how insanely attracted to her she is.
She has to apologize first, properly.
When she sits down on her bed, Lisa goes to her backpack and unzips it, pulling out a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos before offering it to her.
“Here, I got you this.”
Jennie looks at the bag, she kinda has this skeptical look on her face and when Lisa continues to hold the bag in front of her, she sighs before snatching it and pulling the blankets back over herself.
“I’m sorry,” she says again. “What I said- it wasn’t cool. It wasn’t nice either. I just- I was caught off guard.”
“How do you think I felt?” Jennie says suddenly. She still hadn’t opened the bag of chips, it’s just sitting in her lap and somehow Lisa knows she still hasn’t been forgiven yet.
“That’s fair,” she nods. “I was being an ass and I was just surprised. I-I didn’t expect that.”
“No one did,” she mutters.
Lisa looks at her and Jennie is still toying with the bag, rotating it between her fingers before she sighs and sets it to the side.
“You made me so mad,” she breathed and sniffled quietly. In the dark, it was hard to see her face but maybe it was better that way. Hearing her was worse as it is. Seeing it, actually seeing her cry would kill her.
“I came to you to tell you something that was scaring the shit out of me and it felt like you were judging me.” She pressed the heel of her hands against her eyes and Lisa shuffled across the room, hesitantly approaching her bed.
“You’re my best friend,” she said and her voice cracked at the end. “I needed you and you spit on me.”
She started crying then, Lisa could hear her silently crying. Her shoulders shook and she tried to muffle it but inside her room, it felt like an echo chamber. Lisa felt her throat closing up like she couldn’t breathe and she wrung her hands in front of herself. She had done that. She had made Jennie cry.
She blinked her own tears away because she didn’t deserve to cry. She was a shitty person and an even shittier friend.
When she kneeled down on the ground, she grabbed a handful of the sheets in her hand and pressed her forehead into the bed. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry, Jennie. Please forgive me.”
She doesn’t realize that she’s actually being hit until she feels Jennie’s hands shoving at her arm repeatedly. She looks up and Jennie’s pushing at her but it’s kind of useless because Lisa is still in the same position but she understands that this is probably the only thing that will satisfy her.
“I hate you!” she says and Lisa jostles back before Jennie is shoving her again.
“You’re such a dick!” she shoves her once more.
“I want,” shove, “to hit you,” shove, “but I can’t,” shove. She finally sits back, her breath coming out quickly as she tries to calm down before she rubs at her cheeks again.
As soon as she sniffles, Lisa climbs up on her bed and crawls over to her, wrapping her arms around her waist and pressing her face into her chest. She holds her as tight as she can and not a second goes by before she feels Jennie’s arms come around to hug her back.
“Why were you mad?” Jennie had whispered.
She’s staring at Lisa, her eyes wide as she looks up from her place on the pillow. They’re under the sheets, laying face to face next to each other and Lisa is still wearing her tracksuit from swim practice. It’s incredibly hot but she doesn’t want to take it off. She’s only wearing a white beater and the Spongebob shorts that her uncle gave her as a joke last Christmas.
She licks her lips and tries to think of something to say because she can’t tell her why she was really mad.
Yes, initially, she thought that it was stupid. She thought that it was careless of Jennie to get herself pregnant, especially in their junior year but underneath that was a searing stab of jealousy that was trying to claw its way out of her mouth.
She was in love with her. She was mad that Jennie had slept with someone that wasn’t her. She was mad that someone got to kiss her that wasn’t Lisa. She was mad that someone saw everything that Lisa wanted to see and touch her in places that she could only dream of. She was mad that she had a baby and it would never belong to her.
She hated herself.
“I didn’t even know you had a boyfriend,” she says instead.
Jennie rolls her eyes and sticks her hand underneath her pillow. “I don’t.”
“It’s Bobby’s,” she says quickly. “It was the night of the party. When you left, we sat outside and then he started kissing me and I just let him. He wanted to go inside but I wanted to look for you. After I didn’t find you we went upstairs and- you know…” she trails off.
Lisa exhales through her nose and stares at Jennie until she looks down, her eyes latching on to the school’s emblem on the tracksuit.
Of course it would be Bobby’s. Who else would it belong to?
The universe really is playing some cruel joke on her.
After not saying anything, Lisa licks her lips and nods. She doesn’t want to talk out of her ass anymore so she’s going to be quiet. If anything, she’s more disappointed in herself than in anyone else. She shouldn’t have let her teammates force her into watching Wonwoo play beer pong. If she hadn’t, none of this would probably be happening right now.
“Did he force you?” she finds herself asking her.
“No,” she murmurs. “He didn’t, I promise.”
Jennie looks up at her and she believes her. She can see it in her eyes and it helps her at least somewhat. If he had forced her- wow, Lisa would have climbed out of this very window and walked all the way to his house and killed him. She doesn’t tell that to Jennie but she probably doesn’t have to.
“Does he know? That it’s his, at least?”
“I called him and told him about it after I found out,” she whispered. “He’s scared. He doesn’t want me to tell his parents because he’s afraid they’ll send him back to America. He said he’ll be there if he needs my help or anything.”
Lisa had scoffed, it was hard not to. It was so typical of Bobby to get himself involved in something and then chicken out. He was such a dick!
“And I’m keeping it- the baby,” she added quietly. “I don’t know why yet. I just do.”
“I’ll be there too,” Lisa whispers. “I want you to do whatever makes you happy and if that means keeping it, then I’ll be there. If you want to have an abortion, then I’ll be there too. If you want to give it up for like adoption, then yeah, I’ll be there. I’ll be there,” she says and she means it.
Fuck, she means it.
Jennie’s bottom lip wobbles as she looks at her, she looks so scared and Lisa can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like. She can’t understand what is going through her head. She can’t understand what her mom must feel or what people will say when they see a pregnant high school kid. She can’t and yet Jennie is willing to go through that, to face the stares and the whispering and everything that comes with a pregnancy because she wants to.
She’s not only the most beautiful girl on the entire planet but she’s also the bravest person Lisa has ever met in her life.
Lisa hates to admit it but one positive thing that came out of this is that Bobby stays far away from Jennie.
Whenever they’re walking in the halls, Bobby completely avoids them, either by walking off in a different direction or by engaging in a conversation with his friends. He stops talking to Jennie at school, bothering her at her locker, and making sleazy jokes in the courtyard when they have lunch hour. They only talk over the phone or send each other updates about the baby.
Around September, the fifth month of her pregnancy, Jennie tells Lisa that it’s better if Bobby isn’t in the baby’s life.
They’re inside Lisa’s car as she’s parked outside of the school after a swim meet. Half of the parking lot has already cleared out and the opposing team is in the middle of boarding the bus to take them back to their campus.
They came in second overall, with Lisa taking home 4 first place medals in four different categories and the rest of the events being either second or third place. Her parents had collected them from her after smothering her face in kisses and Lisa had been happy, she could still feel the excitement vibrating underneath her skin. But what she really wanted was to see Jennie.
She was always at her swim meets and she spotted her almost immediately after she took her goggles off and rubbed the water away from her eyes. She was in the third row with a blanket around her shoulders and that stupid t-shirt that she made over the summer with the words LISA’S #1 FAN spelled out on it.
“I know he’s only doing it because he feels like he’s responsible for it.”
“He is,” Lisa points out and then shuts up when Jennie threatens to punch her.
“It just feels awkward, like yeah, I know it’s his baby too but I don’t really care whether he wants to be in the kid’s life or not.”
“No,” she shakes her head and looks down to touch the top of her stomach. “As long as I have my mom and you then I’m okay,” she sighs.
Lisa takes her hand off of the steering wheel and carefully grabs Jennie’s own hand. She doesn’t say anything when the older girl laces their fingers together but she feels like Jennie understands her. She feels like Jennie knows what she means when Lisa leans down and presses a kiss to her cheek. She feels like somehow this is going to change both of their lives.