A pillow was thrown onto Cece's head, jolting her awake almost immediately. As she gained full consciousness, the model frowned at her friend and threw the pillow back more aggressively.

And smacked Jess square in the face.

"Cece. We're going to be late. Am I gonna have to haul your ass to school?" Jess exclaimed, kicking the pillow over to her bed as she slid her backpack strap over her shoulder. Cece sat up and immediately felt her head pound against her temples. She lifted her hands up to rub them as her elbows rested on her thighs.

"No." She replied, bowing her head down. "That's my job, babe." Jess watched as her friend struggled to stand up and gather an outfit together, walking staggered over to a dresser.

Tisk-tisk. She shook her head. "I would have made you a care package for the morning, but that was about three alarms ago." Jess walked forward and opened her palm, revealing two Advils. "Thought you could use this." She added as Cece gladly accepted them, grabbing a water bottle in another hand.

"We could have skipped today, you know. Why don't we? It's not like I go there." Cece replied, leaning against the dresser drawer. She popped the Advil into her mouth and swigged down the bottle. She immediately spat it out and threw the bottle down as if it caught fire. "Oh god, oh no no no."

Jess's eyes widened at her sudden actions, blurting out an alarmed, "What?" Cece wiped her mouth and sniffed roughly through her nose.

"That bottle had vodka in it. God, I'm gonna be drunk before school."

Jessica refrained from slapping herself in the face. "You my friend, are not the brightest person I know." She bent down below her dresser and tossed Cece a full unopened bottle. She grabbed it and chucked the top off before drowning herself in water.

"Anyway, we can't." Jess shook her head dismissively. "I have like three exams today, and now knowing what you told me yesterday, you might actually need to come back to school." She grabbed Cece's backpack off the chair, throwing some books inside before zippering it up. Cece turned to her friend and arched her brow quizzically.

"I probably wouldn't be able to, Jess. I've missed way too much." The girl shrugged, moving her bag aside. "I mean, I'm not really sure what I want to do exactly."

Jessica smiled, giving her friend a confused expression. "You can't just not finish school... Can you?"

Cece looked down at her feet, pursing her lips knowingly. "It is possible. I've looked into it before." Jess sighed and grabbed Cece's bag back, trying to hand it to her. "No, Jess, I'm serious. I really think I could make it in the modeling business without that sleaze I called a boss. Some of the workers there even said I have potential."

Jess bit the inside of her top lip, refusing to say more, although she wanted to so very bad. Cece picked up on it and sighed in defeat. "Okay, say what you're going to say." The brunette closed her eyes tightly and opened her mouth. Three, two, one...

"I don't want you to throw away your life and most utter potential with inconsistent modeling jobs." Jessica blurted out before her thoughts could fully register. She and Cece shared a lingering stare for a few moments; Cece nodding her head slowly as Jess pondered whether she was on her hit list yet.

"Okay."

"Okay?"

Cece slid on her v-neck and nodded again. "Yeah." Jessica eyed her suspiciously as Cece's jeans tugged up her thighs. "I heard you."

Relief washed across Jess's face. "So you're not going to drop out? Her friend smiled at a hopeful Jessica, and answered in the best way she knew.

"I am." Jess closed her eyes. "No, no, no, no, listen. I want you to be okay with this. This is my life and this is who I am right now. And if it's a mistake, it's going to be my mistake, okay?"

Jess paused for a moment, and then opened her eyes to her best friend. As much as she wanted things to go back to where they once were; the two dominating the halls and sneaking into the bathrooms between classes to smoke [well, only Cece], she realized it wasn't going to happen. However, she had to be okay with it. Maybe Cece was right. Maybe it was time she put more faith into her best friend. She'd never tell Cece this, but Jess understood how stubborn she could be from time to time [not all the time, geez, give her more credit.] and, well, it was about time she looked at things with an open mind.

"Maybe you're right."

"Really." Cece replied, a smile curving her lips. Jess rolled her eyes, but shrugged shyly.

"Well, I don't know. Maybe life has steered me into a better direction, or, whatever." Jess waved off in an attempt to dismiss their conversation. Cece arched a brow, suddenly more interested in the conversation Jess wasn't intending on having.

"Oh? Life has?" Her friend pushed, her smile forming into a smirk. "Or has someone?"

Jess narrowed her eyes at Cece, understanding where she was getting at. Oh hell no. "Your head is in the clouds, Cecilia."

"No, no, no, no, Jess. Admit something to me." Before Jess could utter another word, Cece raised her hand in front of the girl's face. "Admit that you've changed since you've met him."

Jess shook her head in denial. "Cece, I think I've changed a lot without his help. You of all people should know that we don't need men to change us."

Cece shook her head in agreement, resting her chin on her palm. "True, true. But, Jess, and now, don't kill me over this. But you have to admit. He's brought something out in you."

"Yeah." Jess scoffed. "When pigs fly, ya' weirdo." She hopped off her bed and threw her hair up into a ponytail. Cece raised her brows and shook her head to herself.

"I hope they can bring some better comebacks on their way here!" Jessica heard her friend shout from the bathroom, refraining a sigh as she splashed water onto her face.


The brunette walked down the long narrow halls of the school, her heart almost speeding up when seeing a boy that almost remotely looked like-no. Enough. This craziness must end. Jess stopped in her tracks and slammed her back into a locker, leaning her head back as she held a hand against her chest.

"Performing the pledge of allegiance? You know that only happens for about thirty seconds at 8am, right?" She flinched, banging her head against the locker in the process. Clenching her teeth, she turned her attention over to Nicholas freaking Miller. The guy that makes her want to rip all of her hair out. And the guy she almost kissed. How does this make sense again?

Right.

It doesn't.

"Must you sneak up on me like this?"

Nick flashed a smile as Jessica rubbed the back of her head. "Hows Day doing on this glorious day?" She narrowed her eyes at his wit. He looked about ready to laugh at his own joke.

Her eyes shifted to his mouth before his eyes again. "What's so glorious about it?" Attempting to anticipate his next response, she stood and waited with determination. Instead, Nick took a step closer to her, minimizing the distance.

"I think I'm reaching a break through in my chapters. I would show you, but, I'd be getting ahead of myself." Jess resisted the urge to whine in protest. She couldn't help her inner nerd.

"I'm surprised you haven't finished it yet. With all those supplies that'll last you through the winter, and all."

He noticed her quip and shrugged his shoulders. "Even writers need to hibernate."

Jessica tilted her head curiously. "So you're taking a break?"

Nick opened his mouth and closed it again. "I don't know, Day, am I?"

She breathed air out of her nose, pursing her lips impatiently. "I guess I wouldn't know. Writers are pretty unpredictable."

"That's where you're right. But do you want to know what the best part of my day really is?"

"No."

"I'll tell you." Nick replied, leaning an arm against the locker aside from the one she leaned against. He looked into her eyes and cleared his throat. "Getting to see you, of course. And your little frown and glaring blue eyes."

"I'm sure that's one of your signature boy moves. Making a girl frown and glare. Charming." She scrunched her nose up mockingly.

Nick cracked his knuckles and smiled cunningly. "Only for you."

"Hm. Then I suppose I should feel lucky." Jess took another step closer so they were barely nose to nose. He began to notice her challenge and lowered his face so he was staring directly into her eyes, willing to accept the unspoken competition. The game was beginning to change - Jess could feel it. She could feel it from the heat in her face - or was it his? They were so close. It was too daring. Too easy.

And hell, she was not easy.

He wasn't staring into her eyes anymore, or at least he sort of was. They moved from her eyes to her lips, almost contemplating.

"BUT I don't. Boop." Jess suddenly stepped back a few inches, and booped his nose. Nick stared in a momentary state of confusion as he watched the girl turn and make an immediate run for it. She skipped down the hallway, nearly tripping as she ran into a nearby classroom.

She slapped a hand against her face and groaned. "Why did I have to boop him in the face."

"Whatever that means."

Jess uncovered her face almost immediately and stared at a class of students glancing over at her. The teacher was also smirking, holding a marker in her hand. She smiled lopsidedly at the woman as she proceeded to write on the board. "And that, class, is a great example of hormonal teenagers."

A student spoke up in the midst of the confused middle school students. "What's a boop?"

"Aheh." Jess managed a laugh, grabbing the doorknob from behind her and opening the door, swiftly exiting and cursing mentally at herself. God, was this day ever going to end?

This was all Cece's fault. After all, Jess needed someone to blame. If she hadn't asked her that stupid question, making her all distracted with the stupid thoughts of Nick changed you and Nick influences you and NICK THIS NICK THAT. She had to remove him from her brain like a magic eraser. Sighing hopelessly, she caught sight of him near another pair of lockers, smiling and talking to some of his classmates.

Was there really a need to remove him from all of her thoughts?

He caught her eye unexpectedly and mouthed the word boop. A smile formed on her face as he did this, clasping her hands together.

"Jessica Day!" She winced harshly again, nearly toppling over again. "God, what is it with people today?" Jess exasperated and turned to Cec-... Not Cece. Some girl she'd never seen before.

"Woah, don't kill the messenger. Well, the passenger. Wow, horrible jokes, sorry." The blonde began, fixing her words around. "I'm Caroline. I heard you helped guide high school transfer students around school? You give tours?" The blonde smiled hopefully, holding out a friendly hand. Jess smiled back, calming herself down as she shook Caroline's hand.

"Yes I do. Sorry about the outrage. It's been quite the day." She began walking with the blonde down the hallway.

"At only nine in the morning? What goes on at this school?"

The brunette could only smile. "Too much."

By the time lunch rolled around, Jessica lead Caroline into the school cafeteria. She pointed at the various table cliques that were seated separately from one another, to which Caroline nodded her head understandably. Every school had to have them. The ultimate stereotype must live up to its expectations.

"Honestly, there's weird people you'll run into here. And I don't know what school you've come from, but I mean, they're all genuinely strange. And the teachers."

Caroline hummed in agreement. "That makes sense to me. But, I've met plenty of weird people to last me a life time. Beginning with my mother and ending with my ex. All weirdness."

Jessica smiled. "I have a weird mother too. Like what is it with moms?" Caroline shrugged unknowingly, glancing around at the cafeteria. "But yeah. I mean not with the ex part, but there is this guy that's just so... odd."

"Do tell." Caroline smiled. And just as Jess was about to explain the infamous backstory of her and the post-its and,-

Nick, who was sitting with his group of hippies and somewhat-cool-kids, looked up at the noise of chatter. And there they both were. Jessica Day and... Caroline. Wait, Caroline? He aggressively slammed his knee up under the lunch table and grunted in pain. A couple of his friends looked at him in concern as he fit his fist in his mouth. What the hell was Caroline doing here?

Caroline turned her head until they met eyes, her blonde locks swooping over her shoulder. Her eyes widened at the boy a few feet away from her. Jessica, oblivious to this interaction, abruptly stopped her tour and explanation. "Caroline?"

The blonde blinked. "Uh... Yeah?"

"Oh." Jessica smiled. "That's just another table with some hippies and cool people-I guess that's what you'd call them-, I guess. And there's Nick Miller." She squinted at his odd behavior. "Only, he doesn't typically look like that. He looks like he lost all his cool. Though, he never really had it to start with so-"

"Caroline!" Nick announced as he shot up from the table, stretching an uncomfortable smile across his face. Caroline cleared her throat as she uncomfortably smiled back. He pulled her into a brief hug and pulled away. Jessica arched her brow up in confusion to her friend's behavior.

"You know each other?"

Nick shrugged his shoulder and nodded silently. Caroline tucked a strand of hair behind her ears.

"Yeah, uh, you could say that." She crossed her arms, tugging her long sleeves over her hands. "Ex."

"Ex." Nick agreed aloud. It was Jessica's turn to blink. Though she wasn't great at it. Caroline saw the expression on her face change and parted her lips as the dots began to connect.

"Oh." Caroline said.

"Oh." Jessica replied. "Oh." She realized as her mind wheels of realization turned. And right on time, Cece approached the awkward group of friends (were they all friends?).

Cece smiled and stared at all of them. "Ready to get some lunch?"

"Uh... Yeah!" They all shouted in unison. She made a face at their dumbfounded expressions and nodded slowly.

"Weird. But okay."

She sat down at the lunch table as the rest joined, plopping their lunch trays down as the teens took their seats. It was an unusual quiet at the table, for once. Them all sitting together was not helping the situation either. Nick normally sat with his stoner buddies, and Jess was a lone wolf, basically up until this point. And Caroline... was just never here until now.

"So, you said your name was Caroline! Where do you know Nick and Jess from?" Cece spoke up as they all sat and stared around the room. Caroline met her eyes in relief and nodded her head.

"Yes! And uh, well, Jess has been my tour guide for today. And Nick is... well, my ex!" Caroline gestured to the hippy. Nick gave her a thumbs up and covered his head with his hand. Jess swallowed her food uncomfortably.

Cece set down her fork and nodded responsively. "Ah, that's interesting for sure." Nick cleared his throat as he practically buried his head into his lunch. Caroline took notice and raised her brows at him.

"So Nick." She began. Jess couldn't stop hearing the awkwardness of the conversation. "How's the book?"

Nick blinked. Jess turned to face Caroline. Cece silently took another fork-full of food. "It's fine." He eventually replied.

"Oh, so you know about the book! That's cool."

Caroline nodded a-matter-of-factly. "Yeah! While we were dating, he was gathering ideas for it. I was gonna be based off of that night time character I think?"

A light bulb popped over Jessica's head as she turned to Nick. "Uh, you-"

"There were many, many first drafts! Nothing is set in stone yet, Caroline."

"So I'm not her?" Caroline asked.

"So who is it?" Jessica pressed.

Nick looked at the two girls and opened his mouth to reply. Before anything further, Nick disappeared from the table.

"Maybe he isn't typecasting...?" Cece added to soften the thickened air. Caroline and Jess shared a look before glancing down at their untouched food.


so

so Carolyn huh

She's really nice

It's Caroline

oh

Caroline Night

No

you gotta pick a name at one point

okay but jess

it has to be like earned

she rly broke your heart huh

damn

no it was mutual

...

okay fine no she broke up with me but it DOESNT MATTER

what matters is is that I have name and you cant know it

I thought I was your beta reader tho :(

I see where your loyalty lies

literally who agreed that you were

who

you let me read it! remember?

okay but only when I allow you to

also pay attention

you're wasting your post-its

since when have you been considered about education

and my post-its

youll just get me a stack that you stocked up at the warehouse!

again we did not agree to that

okay but

but can I borrow a stack of post its

no

yes

NO

yes

Jessica Day

im gonna purposely waste ALL OF MY PAPER

YOU ARE KILLING TREES

yeah

that I am

Nick groaned as he read her last note and crumpled it beneath his desk with all of the others. Cece, who decided to sit in for the class, watched this whole fiasco.

"Enough with the love notes."

"They're not love notes!"

The teacher paused teaching as everyone began to stare at a now red Nick and Jess. Jessica cleared her throat and sunk in her seat, wanting to not exist at that very moment. Cece smirked and pulled out a post it. Nick eyed her questionably as she grabbed a pen.

"No." Nick whispered. Cece began writing on it and eventually passed it over to Jess.

Nick + Jess sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Jessica rolled her eyes and, out of habit, through it behind her. Nick picked it up before the realization swarmed over her and Jessica turned around in panic. She attempted to reach over, but Nick's damn typewriter was in the way. "Nick, no!"

He unwrinkled the note and his eyes shifted across the paper. Nick smirked and folded it over, handing the note back to a still-red Jess. Without words, she took it and spun back around in her seat. Dammitdammitdammitdammit.

Well, it wasn't like she wrote it. Cece smiled at the two before returning to focus on the teacher.

first comes love

what

then comes marriage

nick

then comes ? in the baby carriage

enough

and is question marks your brand now or something

WHY CANT YOU COME UP WITH NAMES

... I thought I'd let you have a say in this.

but wow

maybe not

damn miller now you make me feel like shit

our baby is gonna just be nameless then

WHAT BABY

WHY IS THIS STILL A THING

Cece started it

thus why I am ENDING IT

we are not having a baby

we're married, though?

no we are not married

lover's quarrel then

goodbye miller conversation is over my pen is gonna run out of ink

I can stock up some ink for you

and back the note went. Nick chuckled as he crumpled the last post-it note. This was way too entertaining.

The laughter inside of Jess died down as thoughts of Caroline flooded into her mind again. The smile that rested on her lips faded as she bowed her head to the journal in front of her. So, why did things feel different now she was here?

She rolled her eyes to herself. Okay, so she knew exactly why things felt different. The bell rang soon enough and class was dismissed. Much to Jessica's dismay, Caroline joined Jess's stroll down the school hallway.

"Hey, Jessica, can we talk for a sec?"

Jessica shyly tucked strands of hair behind her ear. Well, they already were. "Yeah of course!"

Caroline hugged her books to her chest before the two leaned against some unoccupied lockers. "So... lunch was pretty weird, right?"

"Guess you could say that." Jess replied hesitantly, playing with the edge of her skirt. If you mean the 42 minutes of awkward conversation and uncomfortable chewing that I will never get back, then yes, most definitely weird. "Yeah, it definitely wasn't average."

She smiled friendly before reaching into her back pocket. Jess arched a brow up curiously. "I wasn't gonna mention this before, but it definitely makes sense to address it now." She brought the object in front of her. Jessica lowered her eyes to it and began to blush feverishly. Go figure. A post-it. They were bound to lose one at some point, right?

to late night drives and to driving you insane. goodnight, Day.

Brief flashbacks of the night began to pop in her head.

"Can you do me a favor?" Nick whispered.

You know you owe me." Jessica remarked, yawning as she blinked herself awake. Nick held her iced coffee up, Jess taking a sip out of the straw before he set it down.

"Still, though. I just want you to know that I appreciated it. And, well, you." Nick's eyes poured into hers. She could feel her heart pounding in her ears.

"Jessica?"

Jess blinked out of her trance, breath hitching inside her chest before reverting her eyes back to Caroline's. "Sorry, hi, blacked out for a second. You have my full attention."

Caroline held the post-it out for Jess to take. "It fell out of your backpack pocket." Her eyes perked up with interest. "Secret admirer?"

Careful how you answer this, Jessica. "Not a secret admirer... well like, an admirer, that's not a... secret." Caroline watched Jess battle in her thoughts and nodded understandably.

"Nick is writing you love notes, eh?"

"Who said it was Nick."

"You did. It's tattooed on your forehead." Caroline shrugged knowingly. Jess felt her ears burn immensely. "Seriously, it's cool. You guys must be... really something." She trailed off, her smile lessening in the slightest. "Don't think I've ever seen him like this, actually. This year just got a whole lot more interesting."

Jess frowned in confusion. "Wait, woah, woah, backtrack. Really something how, ever seen him like what, and why is it interesting?"

Caroline hesitated to answer, looking at the ground to search her thoughts. She glanced back up and pulled her bottom lip in before smiling and replying, "Read and find out."


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