This excerpt from my WIP titled We Fit is after Jess and Elena’s laundry trip (see previous posts). It also fits the #100ways of showing I love you because Elena tells Jess she loves the sound of her laughter.
“It’s Jess. Is this a bad time?”
“No, no, I wasn’t sleeping anyway.”
Through the line Jess heard the rustle of some papers as Elena apparently set aside some work. “I’m sorry,” she said quickly.
Just a quickly Elena replied, “Nothing you have to be sorry for.” A short pause and then, “I’m all ears. What’s up?”
“I feel like I should apologize,” Jess said. “I… well, I’ll start with this: I really appreciated what you did for me today.”
“Taking me to the laundromat, hanging out.”
“I meant when I said I enjoy spending time with you, Jess.”
“I…I know that. I do.” Jess sat back against the headboard of her bed, staring at her bare feet. “I… owe you an explanation.”
“Yeah. I’ve had some time to think about why I said no.”
“You hadn’t before?”
“Your offer came out of the blue, for me,” Jess said. “I… I knew we were having a good time. Things were good, and I felt special. Us. ‘We’ was just starting to be an idea. Something… And it … you are really special to me. But… I … moving in says a lot more than I was ready for.”
“Was?” Elena said. After a moment, she added, “Are you thinking you might be ready now?”
“I’ve been alone a long time. You’ve seen my room. I don’t keep a lot of things. A sort of light life, you know. No mementos. I don’t get attached.”
Jess exhaled; she could hear Elena quietly breathing through the line. Just waiting, just being there, listening. To her.
She felt compelled to meet the brunette halfway. Some sort of explanation, even thought opening up about this terrified her. “Now though… I am …attached,” Jess said finally. “To you and Eric. I missed you, too, these last few weeks. And that… scares me. The last time.. well, it just, it didn’t work out. He, um, I guess wasn’t as attached to me. It was all about using me.”
“The guy that left you?”
Jess frowned. “I told you about him?”
“Well, just that he left. He used you?”
Jess pulled her knee to her chest and wrapped her free arm around it. “The apartment was a hole in the wall, but it was supposed to be our safe space. Instead, he had stolen stuff stashed there. They raided. I was charged with possession. He had skipped town completely. I went to jail for six months.”
“That’s terrible!” Elena said. After another moment of quiet on the line, she said, “You’ve got commitment issues. I don’t know that I can fix that, but the offer was genuinely about wanting to give you some place to have stability, not tie you down.” Elena paused then added, “We weren’t planning to make you a sex slave or something.”
“I really like your laugh,” Elena said. “I wish you could do it more often.”
“I have laughed so much more the last four months with you and Eric,” Jess admitted. “It’s different.”
“Different good though, right?” Elena’s words echoed similar ones the brunette had spoken the morning after the swingers house party in November.
Jess had to agree, as her chest warmed with the memory of that night, along with so many other days and nights enjoying the company of two wonderful people. “Yeah, it’s a good feeling.” She was surprised to wipe at tears welling in the corners of her eyes.
Somehow Elena heard the hitch in her voice through the phone. “You’re crying. I’m sorry. Really, I just want you to be happy and safe, Jess. I’ve always wanted that.”
Swallowing back the tears which she realized were from being more happy than sad, Jess managed to say, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Anytime. I mean that. Please.”
The line between them was silent for several seconds. Jess thought about hanging up, but didn’t want to. So she went with another idea. “So, um, would you be interested in hanging out on my next day off?” Jess ventured.
Elena’s response was quick and light. “Just tell me when and where, and I’ll be there.”
So what do you think? Are you as invested as I’ve become in seeing these people work out their issues together as a polycule? Let me know.