I'm on a roll! Updates everywhere. My ultimate goal is to wrap up all my works in progress by the beginning of February so that I can post some new stories that have been brewing! Obviously, one of the biggest orders of business was this story because I haven't posted anything in so long. The other day, I discovered some light outlining for the next couple of chapters and reread the entire story. So my love has been rekindled for this and I could use some comic relief from all the angst and drama brewing in my other stories.
Enjoy! And don't forget to review. It's the best reward for writing and it helps the updates move quicker. Hope no one forgot about this one!
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine except for Sully. I own him.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
The entire apartment was silent when Rory let herself in with her own key. The last time both Jess and Sully were nowhere to be found, they had divided the apartment with masking tape because they were in the middle of a fight. Her eyes danced around the walls, seeking out the sticky divider. When she didn't find one, Rory double-checked the time to make sure she wasn't there when they were both in class.
"No, I just don't know how to do it," Sully said, his voice sounding both timid and angry.
"I think maybe you should talk to your professor then," Jess said, looking over the paper covered in Sully's loopy scrawl.
"I don't know," Sully said. "It doesn't even feel worth it."
Jess groaned as Sully tossed his textbook on the floor. "Are you really going to let something like this defeat you?" he asked.
"Yup. Looks that way," Sully said glumly.
"And you're just going to stay in bed and sulk because you suddenly don't understand something?"
Jess threw up his hands. "So you're going to drop out of school and work at Mike's for the rest of your life?"
Sully nodded before slipping his body under the covers on his bed.
"Do you know how stupid you're being?" Jess pushed.
"Yes," Sully said sharply. "I know how stupid I'm being. I also know how stupid I am. What a quandary," he snapped.
"Sully, you know I didn't mean- "
"No. I knew exactly what you meant," Sully snapped again.
"You're blowing this way out of proportion," Jess started. "All you need to do is talk to your professor and see if he has any insight for you. I don't know what to say because I don't know anything about engineering," he explained.
"So you'll do that?" Jess asked.
"Sure," Sully said unconvincingly.
"No," he said. "I don't want to hear it any more." Sully shook his head and glanced over at the textbook on the floor. "Go see your girlfriend," he directed.
"Rory? What does she have anything to do with this?" Jess asked.
"She let herself in about ten minutes ago. You should stop focusing on me and go do something nice for her."
Jess pursed his lip, but nodded and left Sully alone in his room. As he closed the door behind him, Jess noticed Rory sitting at the kitchen table with a book open in front of her. "You could have told me you were here," Jess said, sitting across from her.
"You seemed preoccupied. I didn't want to butt in," Rory said, marking her place before closing her book. "Everything okay in there?"
Jess sighed and rubbed his hand down his face, pulling his skin as he went. "It's just Sully being melodramatic," Jess said, whispering the last word.
"Yeah. He's having an issue in school and he's not sure he wants to continue going. He's just beating himself up about it too much."
Rory nodded. "I don't think I've ever seen him sad," she said. "He sounded sad."
"Yeah. I know he did." Jess started playing with a pen that was sitting on the kitchen table.
"Should we maybe cheer him up?" Rory asked. "I'm going to feel bad if we go out and he's just sitting in there feeling sorry for himself."
Pursing his lips, Jess leaned his head in the direction of Sully's room. He studied the door before deciding his next move. "I think he's probably mad at me and I should leave him alone."
As disappointed as she was in his decision, Rory nodded and tucked her book inside the front pocket of her bag. "Do you want to get going then?" she asked finally.
Jess nodded and briefly disappeared into his room to get his leather jacket and a book for his back pocket. He would just talk to Sully later. Hopefully he would be willing to listen then. "Coffee?" Jess asked, checking how much money was stashed away in his wallet.
"That's a rhetorical question, right?" Rory asked, grabbing her wristlet and the book out of her bag. She knew they would be coming back to the apartment later.
Jess rolled his eyes and shoved Rory playfully out the door. "Like I didn't even know that answer already."
They walked down the street until they reached Davis Square and the front door to Starbucks.
"So I wanted to talk to you about something," Jess started as they settled in front of the fireplace with their coffees.
Rory played with the sleeve on her paper cup before setting it down so that she could remove her mittens. "What's up?" she asked.
"We don't really talk about school all that much, so I just wanted to put something out there."
It was sort of an unwritten rule that Rory didn't ask Jess how he was doing with his classes. She didn't want to pry and Jess didn't tend to share. "Yeah. I know."
"Well with the flow of money and my grades so far, it looks that I might be able to transfer to a four year college soon." Jess unzipped his leather jacket and sunk down into the comfy chair with his coffee, waiting for Rory's response.
"That's great!" Rory exclaimed. "Do you know where you want to go?"
Jess shook his head. "No. That's why I wanted to recruit you. I'm obviously not looking for an application to Harvard or Yale, but you've done this before."
"So you want me to help you research colleges and fill out applications?" Rory asked.
"I just need a little help," Jess admitted. "I want to find the best fit based on the tuition and requirements."
"Okay," Rory said. She grinned into her latte as she took the first sip.
"What?" Jess asked, catching the tail end of her smile.
"Nothing," she said. "I'm just proud of you."
A thin hint of blush spread to the apples of his cheeks. "Oh." He smiled out of the corner of his mouth. "Thanks." He pulled off Rory's hat by the pom-pom and laid it on his knee.
Rory had stayed for an hour or so after they returned from Starbucks before leaving to get some homework done. Exhausted, Jess decided to take a quick cat nap before figuring out the rest of the evening, which would probably include, but was not limited to, consoling Sully about school and trying to make amends. Instead, when he woke up, he discovered a less morose Sully in the kitchen, standing in front of the stove.
"You're cooking?" Jess asked skeptically, rubbing his eyes. He was probably still asleep and imaging the entire chain of events.
"Yeah," Sully said. "Just trying something new."
"You don't know how to cook," Jess pointed out.
"Says who?" Sully demanded.
Jess raised his eyebrow.
Frowning, Sully watched the flames on the burner lick the bottom of the pan. "Yeah. I guess you're right." He tossed his potholder on the counter and watched the flame catch the loop of the potholder. Quickly, he switched off burner and tried to hide the burning potholder from Jess, who had looked away and was busying himself with highlighting notes. "Shit, shit, shit," Sully said under his breath as he fanned the fire, trying not to make the little flame obvious.
"Did you say something?" Jess asked, looking up.
"Huh?" Sully jumped over to the side to shield the small fire he had started. "No. No, I didn't say anything," he said shakily.
"Oh-kay." Jess turned back to his notes while Sully started blowing at the flames, effectively making it spread from the loop to the main part of the potholder. "What are you cooking over there?" Jess asked. "It smells like it's burning."
Sully leaned casually against the counter, efficiently blocking the burning potholder from Jess's view. Jess studied Sully for a moment too long as Sully started to get antsy. "Oh, it's nothing."
"Is…is your shirt on fire?" Jess asked suddenly, jumping out of his seat.
"No. No. Nothing's on fire!" Sully said, trying to block Jess from the counter. A beat. "Oh my God. Jess, my shirt's on fire!" Sully started jumping up and down before throwing himself on the floor.
"Christ Almighty." Jess grabbed a metal lid and tossed it over the potholder to put out the fire.
"Jess! I'm on fire!" Sully shouted from the floor. "Wait, stop, drop, and roll." Sully started rolling around the kitchen floor as Jess threw a pan of water on him.
"There. You're out," Jess said gruffly, lifting the lid to see if the potholder had gone out. It had fizzled, so Jess put the material in the sink and ran water over the burning pattern. "Really, you couldn't have just said, 'Hey Jess, I set something on fire?' " he asked. "Because I would have helped you out before you lit yourself on fire."
Sully examined his white Patriots shirt and pulled the wet material away from his skin. "Yeah."
"Because you burning down the kitchen is not a good idea."
He nodded and accepted the hand Jess extended down to help him off the floor. "Well, it's okay now."
"Yeah. Because you caught on fire and I put everything out," Jess repeated. "So are you done cooking?"
Sully nodded. "Want to get a pizza?" he asked.
"Sure. Sounds like a good idea."
Jess grabbed his keys and wallet so that he could order and pick up a pizza from Mike's and left Sully to change and sop up the water on the kitchen floor. When he returned with the pizza, he noticed that Sully had somehow knocked himself out his funk and was in a much better mood than earlier.
They sat silently on the couch with the news on the television in front of them until Sully started talking about his new girlfriend.
"Perfect woman," Sully said, taking another bite of his pizza.
"Really?" Jess asked. "I still can't believe you conned some poor girl into dating you."
"Hey, I resent that."
"What's her name?" Jess asked.
Jess coughed for a second before swallowing the crust lodged in his throat. "WHAT?"
"What?" Sully questioned, sucking the cheese off his slice of pizza.
"Oh. No reason," Jess said, sliding another slice of pizza on his plate. "You like her?"
"She loves the Red Sox," Sully mentioned, eyeing the last slice in the box. He had already had one more slice than Jess, but he was hoping Jess wouldn't notice and jump for the last piece.
"Jesus. Now I have to put up with two of you on a game night? I thought one was enough!" Jess noticed Sully drooling over the last slice of pizza and he tossed it on his plate before his bottomless pit of a friend could claim it.
"Just wait until we mix the two of you up. Everyone calls her Jess." Sully started grinning, satisfied.
"Looking forward to it, buddy. You couldn't have started dating someone named Trudy or something?" Jess polished of one slice of pizza and started on the last piece.
Sully snickered and played with the tab on his soda can. "Yeah, well, just you wait. She's a Pats fan too."
Jess raised his eyebrow. "A who-what?"
"A Pats fan," Sully repeated, slower that time.
"She likes Pat?" Jess questioned, feeling out of the loop. "I thought she was your girlfriend."
Sully rolled his eyes. "She likes the Patriots. You know, football," he said. "Jeez. You are such a sports retard."
Jess groaned. "I'm moving out." Plucking the unopened can from Sully's hands, "That's mine."
"She's coming over for a Patriots game on Sunday," Sully said, walking over to the fridge to grab another can of soda. "That okay?"
Jess laughed into his soda can. "Rory lives here half the time and you're asking me if your girlfriend can come over and watch TV?" he asked. "It's your apartment."
"Yeah. I just wanted to make sure," Sully said. "Patriots games can be very interactive."
"Like a mating ritual?" Jess asked mockingly. Sully shot him a look. "I know what you do during these games. Half the time you aren't wearing pants and you're jumping on the couch."
"Hey, maybe she, unlike you, enjoys when I'm not wearing any pants."
Jess paused. "Yeah. I think I need to go burn that image out of my brain. Thanks."
Jess stood and Sully looked up at him expectantly. "So you're done with your pizza?"
"Vulture," Jess said under his breath, stalking out of the living room with his can of soda.