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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 12

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*Clarke's POV*
It was 2 days before the end of the semester. The snow fell outside so peacefully, and the wind blew against the house so smoothly, it almost sounded like a song. The pond on the edge of campus had frozen over, and was being used by many as an ice-skating rink. Everything was nice and calm.
Everything outside of Ethereal House, that was.
Inside? LORD! Where do I begin?
Jessica and I didn't go exactly the way I thought we would. The last 4 months had been...an experience to say the least. Don't get me wrong, we were still with each other, but we weren't together. We spoke every day, but we didn't talk much. We still slept together from time to time, but afterwards, we didn't sleep together. It felt like there was a disconnection, a lingering sense of Jessica pulling back that would reappear after I pulled out.
Was it me? Did I do something wrong? I mean, I'm sure that in the moment I didn't do anything wrong because...well...I know what I'm doing. But what about afterwards?
Then again, I can't blame her, as she had seemed a bit more tired as of late. And by 'a bit', I mean 'a lot'. She had started to put on some weight, but I didn't say anything because I had too. I just assumed that the dreaded 'Freshman 15' was whooping all of our asses. When she wasn't in class or doing her work, she was eating, hanging out with the girls Ariana, Violet, and even Anne on occasion, or sleeping.
Oh wait, there was another thing that she was always doing: fighting with Scarlet.
It was a different argument every day. Monday it about was dishes; Tuesday Jess was watching TV, got up to go to the bathroom, and Scarlet changed the channel; so, to be petty, on Wednesday when Scarlet put her towel over one of the shower doors and stepped away for a few minutes, Jess put the towel on top of the toilet and got in the shower. This backfired on me, however, because of course hoe ass Jeffrey suggested they shower together in the boys' bathroom instead.
"It'll save water," he reasoned.
It sure did, as I was too grossed out by Scarlet's whimpers and Jeffrey's moans to continue with my own shower. It did give me an idea though; I thought maybe I should be spontaneous and surprise Jess by sneaking into her shower, hoping that I would be as lucky as Jeffrey for once. I was sadly mistaken, however.
After I had wrapped my towel around my waist and slinked across the hall into the girls' bathroom, I saw what appeared to be her back through the textured shower glass. I quietly slipped my towel off and slid open the door. I wrapped my hands around her waist and whispered, "Hey, baby," in her ear.
Let's just say the last thing I expected was to hear a loud screech and to be swatted at, which is exactly what happened.
"OH MY GOD! WHAT THE FUCK CLARKE!"
"Oh Jesus, Anne! I'm so sorry!" I was flustered at first, then embarrassed. I quickly got red, or at least as red as the melanin in my chocolate skin would let me.
"I'm sorry I thought you were Jessica!" I explained.
"I DON'T CARE! GET OUT!" she yelled.
I stepped out of the shower to Jessica walking in the bathroom.
Fuck. Of course this would happen. Jesus, why don't you love me?
"Sweetie, baby, it's not what it looks like," I started immediately as I rushed over to her, slipping and sliding all the way there.
"Well then what in the hell is it? Cause it sure as fuck looks like you just got caught with Anne," she yelled.
"No, no, it's not like that," Anne began.
"Did I ask you? No. I didn't. I asked my man, so if you could do me a favor and shut up, that'd be great," Jess snapped at her.
Anne's whole demeanor changed. I could see her preparing to attack, so I piped up with, "I tried to come in here and surprise you by showering with you but—"
"But I wasn't in here and you thought you were just gonna get it with Anne instead!?" she cut me off.
"No, he didn't get anything with anybody!" Anne insisted. "What is wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with me is you keep fucking speaking after I already told you wasn't nobody talking to your ass. I can't fucking believe this shit!" Jess yelled back.
"Baby, she's just tryna explain that nothing happened," I interjected once more.
"So then what happened?" she asked, crossing her arms and tapping her bare foot on the tile.
"So, like I was trying to say," I started, "I had seen you come in here a few minutes before I went downstairs to eat, and when I came back up here I heard the shower going and thought you were still in here. I went to take a shower and thought that it would be better if I joined you."
"And why did you think that?" she asked.
"I thought it was gonna be cute and spontaneous," I said with a softer, sweeter voice, as I approached her and ran my fingers through her damp hair and caressed the side of her face with the side of my hand, before finally lifting her chin with my index finger.
She responded by gently rubbing the palm of her hand up my face and giving me a soft, tender kiss, before slapping the dog shit out of me. I heard a little gasp come out from Anne, followed by a low, "aww shit".
"What the hell was that for?!" I asked as I tried to rub the pain away.
"You didn't do that shit for me, you did it for you," she explained.
"I mean, yeah! I did it for us," I said.
"No, you did it. You were trying to compete with Jeffrey."
Damn...caught. Why didn't I think this through??
"But it's okay," Jess started.
"It better be! After you done slapped me, I'd hope you wouldn't still be mad," I expressed.
"Just don't ever try to make me compete with that wack white bitch again," she said as she wrapped her arms around me.
"Well as much as I love hearing y'all talk shit about my best friend, I'd love it even more if I could finish my shower in peace," Anne said.
"You sure you don't need any company?" I asked with a joking wink and a smirk, which was followed by a knock on the back of my head, courtesy of Jessica.
"What? Too soon?"

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