Jane liked Madison. She did. She just… didn’t think she would be spending so much time with her.
Jane was absolutely thrilled that her and Mason were a couple. Mason was nothing short of perfect. Kind, polite, funny, and for whatever reason, seemed to really, genuinely like Jane. It had been a few weeks since they got together, and Jane was still in disbelief. It was just that it was really, really hard to get alone time with him.
Their first official date was to a concert, but apparently it was Madison’s favorite band, so she had to tag along. Just a few days later, Jane and Mason were supposed to spend the afternoon at the mall together, but Madison said she had to pick up a few things, so she might as well join them. And after that it just… kept happening. Jane was starting to wonder if maybe Mason and Madison were actually conjoined twins. It was getting hard to tell. Jane couldn’t even sit with him in Glee without Madison cutting in and taking part in all of their conversations.
One day, when Glee got out and everybody was beginning to disperse, Jane elected to get to the bottom of the issue. She would talk to Mason and confront him about it, and hopefully he would banish his sister once and for all, problem solved. But getting Mason alone just to talk to was hard enough.
“Madison? Do you think I could have a second to speak to your brother privately?”
“Aw, Jane, you know that there is nothing that you can tell Mason that you can’t tell me,” Madison drawled, her voice drenched with so much artificial sweetness, Jane was beginning to think she was half Splenda. “Besides, whatever you tell Mason, he’s just going to tell me later anyway. We’ve had a full disclosure agreement since birth. It’s a twin thing.”
Well, obviously Jane couldn’t bring it up now.
“I was just going to ask Mason if he wants to grab coffee at the Lima Bean before school tomorrow.”
Before Mason could open his mouth to answer, Madison piped in, enthused. “Oh, we’d love to! I swear, getting up in the mornings is becoming harder and harder. We could all use some caffeine to get us through the day. Great idea, Jane!”
And that was that.
The next day, Jane took it upon herself to corner Mason in the hallway right before his one class that he didn’t have with Madison. (He took poetry while she was in art. “Even twins have stylistic differences.”)
She came right out and said it. “Do you want to break up?”
Mason blinked at her a few times, clearly trying to process what she had just asked him, surprised. “What?”
“I just…” Jane began. She suddenly found herself unable to look at Mason directly, and focused her eyes on her hands, which fiddled with the hem of her skirt. “ I didn’t know if you actually wanted to be with me.”
“What? Of course I want to be with you!” Mason exclaimed, with so much conviction that Jane couldn’t help but be inclined to believe him. “Why would you even think that?”
“It’s just that you always invite Madison along whenever we do anything, so I wasn’t sure if you just needed that third wheel to-”
“Madison invited herself. I swear, I had nothing to do with it-”
“You know, you could always tell her off,” Jane interrupted, annoyed. Mason gave a dejected sigh, and looked at Jane with sad eyes. Jane felt her knees buckle. Damn those sad eyes.
“She’s my sister. I can’t do that.”
Jane raised her eyebrows, now looking at Mason directly. “Well, I guess she’ll be chaperoning our dates for the rest of forever.”
“Alright, I get your point. I’ll try and talk to her tonight. Just… Don’t say anything to her. Let me handle this.”
“Thanks, Mason. I appreciate it.”
“I have to go to class. I’ll text you later, okay?”
“Okay,” Jane smiled. Mason leaned in and left a lingering kiss on Jane’s cheek, and Jane felt his lips burning there for the rest of the day.
As the hours grew later and later, Jane begun to worry that Mason had forgotten about her, and that he never did end up talking to Madison. Her phone had been dead all afternoon. No word from Mason, or Madison, or anybody.
It was nearly midnight when Jane’s phone finally lit up with a text message.
to Jane: i talked to madison
to Mason: oh yeah? how did it go?
to Jane: she was super weird about it. even i couldnt get a read on her
to Jane: she said she was gonna try and talk to you tomorrow
to Mason: to me?
to Jane: but you’re not supposed to know that ;)
to Mason: okay well. my lips are sealed. thank you, by the way.
to Mason: i just want to be closer to you. that’s all
to Jane: <3
Jane grinned at her phone, and with warm thoughts of Mason and emoticon hearts, she felt truly happy as she drifted to sleep.
Jane spent the entirety of the following day on edge. She was terrified that the fact that she had confronted Mason about Madison’s omnipresence would rub Madison the wrong way, and that she would hate Jane, or try to convince her to stop seeing Mason. Practically every scenario of their upcoming conversation that Jane could imagine was a bad one.
Glee rehearsal was held in the auditorium, and the entire time Jane was focused on avoiding Madison’s eye contact. Even still, she lingered with her bag when rehearsals were let out to give Madison the chance to approach her.
“Jane. Hey, can I talk to you?”
“Sure!” Jane chirped, a little too loud as she spun around to face Madison. She coughed and lowered her voice to a normal volume and tone. “Sure, Madison. What’s up?”
“Mason talked to me. Yesterday. He told me you voiced some concerns… about me. And my supposed constant presence in your relationship with my brother.”
“I don’t think anything about your presence in our relationship is ‘supposed’.”
“Yeah, well,” Madison looked down, scuffing the heels of her white sneakers on the floor of the stage. “I just wanted to apologize. I was just trying to protect my brother.”
“Protect him?” Jane questioned, taken aback. “From what?”
“Getting in too deep. Getting his heart broken.”
“I would never do that to him,” Jane said slowly. Madison shook her head.
“I don’t know that.”
“Listen, I know you hate me, but Mason can make his own decisions.”
“I don’t hate you, Jane. I just love my brother.”
“Yeah, I don’t think that’s legal…”
Madison huffed and rolled her eyes. “Not like that. Jeez, why does everybody think it’s like that?”
“You guys are really close.”
“Yeah, we are.” Madison said softly. She paused for a long while, expression concentrated, and Jane stayed silent, waiting patiently for her to speak. “I guess... I guess that’s another part of it. Mason has never really had a real girlfriend before. I’m not used to him having to split his time between me and another girl. And I guess I’m scared that I’ll be left in the shadows. I’m not ready for that.”
“You won’t be. You mean the world to Mason. You always will.”
“Yeah?” Madison looked up at Jane, her eyes glimmering. Jane felt her heart warm at the questioning hope in her voice.
“Yeah,” Jane nodded, sure.
“You know, Jane? You’re not half bad. If my brother has to have another girl in his life, I’m glad it’s you.”
If Jane wasn’t trying so hard to keep her cool, she would’ve burst into tears right then and there.
“You’re not so bad yourself, Madison,” Jane paused, an idea springing to life in her mind. She beamed at Madison. “I have an idea.”
“Just. Wait a second.” Jane beamed as she reached in her pocket and pulled out her phone. She dialed a number quickly and pressed it to her ear. “Hey, Mason? Listen, I know we were supposed to meet at Breadstix tonight, but -... Yeah, something came up. I’m going out with a new friend.”
Jane had a feeling that Mason knew exactly what was going on, as he was eager and a bit enthused to change their plans. They said their goodbyes quickly and Jane hung up the phone and turned to Madison, who was staring at her in awe.
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“I didn’t. But I wanted to. I think I want to spend a bit more time with my boyfriend’s sister. I have a lot to learn about the most important girl in his life.”
Madison gaped at her, and then smiled wide.
“I definitely like you, Jane Hayward. You’re going to be great for my brother, I can tell.”
“Not as great as the two of you will be for me,” Jane grinned, and offered her arm out to Madison. The two girls linked elbows and together made their way out of the auditorium, sharing sweet smiles and laughter. And it almost felt like family.