The morning after the party, Jessica woke up with a slight headache. She hadn't had that much to drink, had she? Not enough to cause a hangover. She groaned when she opened her eyes.
"It's too bright," she complained and turned to push her face into her pillow to block out the light.
Steve, who was still sleeping beside her, began to stir and one of his arms ended up resting over her back.
"You okay?" he asked, his voice rough from sleep.
"No," she replied. "My head hurts."
"It happens." He began to pull her closer and she went willingly. "You probably just need some water."
Her mouth was dry.
"Mm. I also need the sun to not shine through the window."
Jessica placed her head on his chest, and he moved his hand from her back to her scalp and began massaging.
"That feels so good," she said. "You really are the best boyfriend."
His chest moved beneath her as he let out a huff of laughter. "It's kind of easy when I have the best girlfriend."
She smiled and hid her face against him. "You're pretty smooth, Steve Harrington."
"I try to be."
They continued to lie there for about ten minutes, Jessica falling between being awake and being barely awake. Steve continued playing with her hair and massaging her scalp, and if they had been at her house and in her bed, she would've let herself fall back to sleep for real.
As it was, they probably needed to get up soon so they could get ready for their movie marathon day/night with the kids.
Once they were up, Jessica deciding to keep her skirt off since she still had her leggings on, they went downstairs. A lot of the people that had decided to stay the night were still there, most still sleeping, so they quietly collected their jackets and left.
"You want breakfast?" Steve asked. "You don't feel sick or anything?"
"Nope, no sickness. Yes to breakfast."
The ride to the diner was relatively quiet, and Steve didn't mind it. Jessica wasn't used to alcohol headaches. He reminded himself to make sure she got some water in her before she ate.
Their plan for the day was pretty simple. The kids were planning on spending half the day at the arcade. They would all go back to the Henderson household for dinner around five and then the movie marathon would start. It was supposed to last all night, but Steve thought it would probably end around two.
Now that Dustin seemed to like and trust him a bit more, Steve was actually a little excited for their movie night. Dustin still made those comments about their relationship, but it was more a friendly teasing than disapproving remarks. He knew Steve was not there to hurt his sister; he was willing to give Steve a chance.
He hadn't really hung out with the other kids. He knew Mike, of course, but the only impression Mike seemed to have of him was him sneaking into Nancy's bedroom through the window when they'd first gotten together. Unlike Dustin, who would've bawled him out over something like that, Mike had just rolled his eyes.
He hadn't spent much time with Lucas at all, and the only time he'd spent with Will was when he'd been in the hospital and that had only been the first night when Jessica had needed him there. He knew that out of Dustin's friends, she liked Will the most because he was quiet and respectful and was the least likely to get into trouble.
Once at the diner, they ordered their food. Jessica wanted pancakes, while Steve ordered the special that came with eggs, bacon, and toast.
Each of the tables in the diner had a mini jukebox. Jessica picked a Michael Jackson song, and the music came on, softly so as not to disturb other people, and they waited for their food to arrive.
As they ate, bits and pieces of the night before came back to Jessica, and she almost laughed when she remembered she'd tripped going up the stairs.
"You had to carry me to the room last night," she suddenly said. "I didn't think I had drink that much, but . . . apparently I couldn't even walk upstairs."
Steve grinned and laughed along with her. "I didn't mind carrying you."
"I only had three cups, right? That's all I remember. It didn't taste like it had much alcohol in it, but I was obviously wrong."
She remembered getting ready for bed and that she'd tried taking her pants off. She also remembered that Steve hadn't let her. He hadn't taken advantage. If he hadn't said anything, she definitely would've taken them off, and he probably would've been miserable until falling asleep. He'd basically said as much.
She had a good boyfriend and a good best friend. It had taken him a while to get his act together, but he was making progress.
Once Jessica and Steve were done eating, they went to her house so they could pick Dustin up and take him to the arcade to meet up with the rest of the group. Jessica's head still hurt, but not as bad as it had when she'd first woken up. She'd had some water as Steve had suggested, and it had helped a little.
Dustin was already dressed and ready to go when they got to the house, and as soon as they pulled into the driveway he was rushing out, a small bag of coins in his hand.
He threw himself into the backseat and gave them a cheerful greeting. One of Dustin's favorite things to do was go to the arcade – his name adorned the high score screen on many of the games, and he was always trying to top his best score and anyone else's that was above his.
"So . . ." Dustin said slyly, "what were you guys doing all night?"
Jessica groaned and turned to look at him. "Seriously?" She wasn't even mad; she knew Dustin was just teasing her and it wasn't like he used to tease. Now he'd accepted Steve as a part of their life, and he maybe even liked Steve now. Dustin was just doing what a younger brother was supposed to do.
"Dude, she tripped going up the stairs."
"Well, you did," he said and grinned.
Dustin laughed loudly. "That's embarrassing."
"Only Steve saw, so it's okay."
Once they reached the arcade, Jessica gave Dustin a five-dollar bill that he could exchange for quarters inside. He had his own money, but he was going to be there for a while and she didn't know if the other guys would have enough to go around.
They waited in the car with Dustin until the others arrived and then she and Steve headed to the store to buy some snacks and sodas for their movie night. They had to wait to go to the video store so that the kids could each pick a movie, and they would pick up pizza for dinner on the way home.
"I'm watching Grease tonight," she said out of nowhere. "The kids are going to make me watch Star Wars and horror movies – watch and see if they don't – so I'm going to watch Grease."
"Okay," Steve said. Jessica knew he didn't mind her movie choice; he'd never watch it on his own, but he'd watch it with her. Then he said, "Bet you don't even make it to midnight."
"Yes, I will," she exclaimed. "The kids will be up until at least two, so I have to make it as long as they do."
"Right, and anyway, Star Wars is not that bad."
"They're too long," she said. "I didn't know you even cared for them. Last time you barely paid attention to the movie."
"Well, that's because you were sitting beside me. Between a movie and my girlfriend, I'm gonna pick my girlfriend."
Jessica and Steve had a good three or four hours until they had to go back and pick up the kids so they went back to her place with a plan to get all of the boxes out of the guest-room-turned-storage-room so it could actually start functioning as a guest room for real. Jessica had already packed most everything up, she just needed Steve to help take everything to the cellar in her backyard.
She hadn't kept much out of the room. There were her dad's old things, of course, and her mom had wanted whatever pictures and baby stuff they had found, but other than that everything was being put away.
"So . . . you have a place for your stuff here now," she told Steve. "For when you spend the night."
They were finally done after two hours of nonstop trips between the house and the cellar, and they were seated in the kitchen, a can of Coke in front of each of them. Her mom was at the stove fixing them grilled cheese sandwiches, and Jessica was trying not to let the smell of the butter cooking turn her stomach. That had nothing to do with her drinking and being slightly hungover; she'd never liked the smell of butter being melted on the stove. The sandwich was always worth it, though.
"Thanks for helping Jess out today," her mom said as she got two plates down from a cabinet above the stove. "I know she's glad all that is done."
"No problem, Ms. H," Steve said. "The room is for me, so . . . it's only right that I help."
Jessica's mom had fixed a sandwich for each of them and when they were done, she put one sandwich on each plate and then brought them to the table.
She watched as some of the melted cheese started oozing out between the two slices of bread. She caught it with her finger before bringing it to her mouth and licking the cheese off of her finger.
"Do you care if we eat in my room?"
Her mom smiled. "Keep the door open."
They did as she'd said, of course, and left the door open. They both got comfortable on her bed before beginning to eat. Jessica kept a small radio on her bedside table because she loved listening to music and liked having easy access to it. She turned it on and soft pop music filled the room.
After they were done eating, Jessica stretched out on the bed and closed her eyes. She was jostled a bit when Steve laid down beside her, but she didn't really mind. She also didn't mind when he placed a hand on her stomach even though her shirt had ridden up a little when she'd laid down. She even let out a little sigh of contentment when his thumb began caressing back and forth over her skin.
"You still not feeling a hundred percent?" he asked.
"My head still hurts a little bit, but not as much as it did earlier. I'll be fine by tonight."
"We still have a couple hours before we have to go pick the kids up. Maybe you should sleep the rest of your hangover off."
That sounded like a good idea. She turned the radio off and set an alarm for an hour and a half; she knew if she fell asleep, that Steve probably would, too.
Steve did fall asleep with her, but he was the one who woke up first – even before the alarm went off. He couldn't get over how nice it was to wake up beside Jessica. Waking up beside someone wasn't something he'd done a lot of. Before, he'd usually picked a girl up at a party and they had just stayed there, used one of the rooms where they were, and if they fell asleep together after it was no big deal. But he usually hadn't fallen asleep. He might have stayed with the girl for a few minutes while they'd both come down, but there had been no reason to stay all night. He'd never wanted to make a big deal out of it, and the girls he'd chosen hadn't wanted to either.
But Jessica was a big deal, and he loved how close they were. He also loved how committed Jessica was, how she'd admitted that she could still see them together in a couple of years. She had plans for them, and he loved that. Plans could fall through, of course, but the point was she wanted them to be together for the long haul.
She loved him and he loved her, and the security he had in her was amazing. Never once had she made him feel or think that her attention was on anyone else. Granted, she knew about his dad's history of cheating and how that had affected Steve's view of relationships, so she knew to be careful of that, but still . . . she never showed that type of interest in anyone but him and he liked that.
The alarm was set to go off in about ten minutes, so Steve turned it off and decided to wake Jessica up in his own way. He turned onto his side to make it easier to reach her. She was on her stomach, so the obvious place to touch was her back. He did so gently, rubbing up and down enough to bring her out of her sleep but not enough to startle her out of it.
Jessica had been sleeping better lately, fewer nightmares aside from the occasional one when she had a bad day, a day that reminded her of what had happened in November. He was sleeping better too, which meant he wasn't having as much trouble getting to sleep. The shadows didn't bother him as much anymore – at least when he was there with Jess and not at home alone.
He waited patiently for Jess to wake up and then grinned when he saw the frown lines appear on her forehead when she realized the alarm wasn't what had woken her up.
"Steve . . ."
"You only had a few more minutes," he said.
"Hm . . . A few minutes is a few minutes."
"Are you feeling any better?"
"I don't know. Let my mind wake up first."
She moved a little closer to him, close enough that they were breathing the same air, and tilted her chin up. Steve knew that meant she wanted a kiss, and he was happy to give her what she wanted. It was just a small one, a sleepy one, but he felt her smile beneath him as she let out a sound of contentment.
She pulled away only slightly. "I'm gonna call the pizza in before we leave so it'll be done by the time we pick it up."
"Good idea," he said, kissing her again, this time more thoroughly. They had a few minutes before they really needed to get going.
Steve and Jessica ended up taking separate cars so that he could pick up the pizza while Jessica picked up the kids and took them to pick out some movies.
Jessica was right in that the kids wanted Star Wars and horror movies. They tried to get her to rent all three of the Star Wars movies that were available, but she definitely wasn't having that. She would not sit through all three, and they didn't have enough time to watch all of them anyway, not if each kid was going to be able to pick a movie.
She had picked all the boys up – Nancy and Jonathan would meet her at her house, she assumed – and had gone straight to the video store. Since she only allowed one Star Wars movie, the boys turned to the horror section. Friday the 13th was the one horror movie they agreed on. She had quite a movie collection herself at home, so that was basically all they needed.
Steve hadn't made it back to the house yet when she and the kids got there, but Nancy was there already. Jonathan had to work until six that day, so he'd be a little late, but that was okay.
When Steve got back with the pizza, they ate while they waited for Jonathan to get there. They didn't start the movie marathon until he arrived.
The kids wanted to start out with Star Wars. Jessica didn't mind, really. It gave her a couple hours to get her homework done for that weekend. She still sat in the living room with the others, her textbook and paper spread out in front of her.
Steve left her alone to do her work and she noticed that he really got into the movie when he didn't have her distracting him. She got done with her homework before the movie ended.
To even things out, Nancy was able to pick her movie next. She chose The Outsiders.
"I love that movie." Jessica said.
To be fair, Jessica knew that the kids would probably not like the choice of movie. She wasn't surprised when they ended up talking through it. It didn't matter, though, because by that time Steve had come to sit beside her. He was leaning against the couch and she was laying in a way that allowed her to rest her head on one of his legs.
His hand found its way to her hair, where he massaged her scalp much as he had done that morning.
"Mm. If you keep doing that, I'm not going to make it to midnight."
"I told you that this morning."
She woke right up, though, when Jonathan picked The Evil Dead. Jessica didn't find the movie scary at all. On the contrary, the movie was so over the top that it was hilarious, especially when Ash had to replace most of his arm with a chainsaw.
It was around midnight when Jonathan and Nancy left, before they even got to the snacks, and Jessica was wide awake now from laughing at the stupid movie that was The Evil Dead. Surprisingly, Mike decided to go home with Nancy. He'd been a little withdrawn, anyway, and Jessica remembered Nancy saying he'd been having trouble and that he'd been trying to contact Eleven every night.
They watched two more movies – both horror – before the boys began to fall asleep sitting up. It was almost 3:30 in the morning, so it was about time for them to start wanting to go to bed. Jessica didn't get to watch Grease, needless to say, but Steve was going to be sleeping beside her, so it didn't really matter.
Jessica helped Dustin set up a few pallets on the floor in the living room. The kids would be staying downstairs, mostly because they wanted to fall asleep in front of the TV.
"You guys know where we'll be if you need us," she said. That was mostly for Will's benefit because she didn't know if he was having nightmares anymore. She wanted him to know it was okay to come get her if he did.
Once the movie was set up and the lights were out, Steve and Jessica waited for the guys to settle down before heading to bed themselves. He gripped her hand in his as they went upstairs.
When they reached the room, they went through their normal routine of Jessica going to the bathroom to change into her bed clothes while he stripped down to his boxers. Jessica was already yawning when she came back into the room and made a beeline for the bed. Steve took his turn in the bathroom and then he quickly got in bed himself.
Once they were both comfortable, Jessica half on top of him, Steve began to rub her back. It was a surefire way to get her to sleep quickly. She turned her head slightly to give him a quick kiss on his chest and then settled in closer.
"Love you," she said.
It brought a small, tired smile to his lips as he told her he loved her too.
Okay, so I binged ST3 and, um . . . MY HEART HURTS! Won't spoil anything for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but I will say that it has definitely messed up any plans I may have had for a certain character . . . UNLESS I DECIDE TO FIX IT!
Onto other notes: I mean to delve deeper into the movie night, but I just wasn't feeling it, but next chapter is pretty cool because I'm doing a Valentine's Day chapter! I actually really like how it turned out!