The Golden Girl @creativewoman88
Chapter 20

Chapter Twenty

As February turned into March the day temperatures became more bearable to Jessica, but it meant that P.E. was usually held outside if it wasn't raining. They were still training for their physical fitness test. She had no problems with the sit ups or the pull ups, and she was even flexible enough to pass that part of the test, but she still had trouble running the mile. Though she was getting a little better with the help of Steve. He told her to keep pace with him because he didn't just take off and use all of his stamina at once. She still felt like she was going to die after about two laps though.

One day in mid-March Jessica's science class had to go outside to draw parts of the ecosystem. The teacher walked them out to the woods behind their school, notebooks and pencils held in the students' hands, and let them loose. They had to stay within eyesight, of course, but they were still free to wander.

Jessica was not happy. She'd started lagging behind the others about midway. Steve shared her science class, so he stayed behind with her. Her hands were shaking, not badly at first, but the closer she got to the woods the harder they began to shake.

"What's wrong with you?" Steve asked.

"Why do we have to go in the woods? There could be wild animals or something in there."

"Um . . . not really, not this close to the school. Or probably not."

"There could be something else in there," she said, looking at him pointedly, hoping he got what she was trying to say.

By the way Steve came to a stop, she knew he now understood what she was talking about.

"I thought it only came out at night."

"I mean, that's the only time we know that it attacked someone, but it was at your place during the day that one time. When Nancy saw it. And . . . the last time I was in the woods, I ended up stuck . . . over there."

Steve grabbed her hand. "That was not your fault. If you hadn't gone after Nancy, that wouldn't have happened. You know not to, you know, crawl into one of those things now."

She had to admit that Steve was right about that one. She never would've crawled into that nasty hole if she hadn't been worried about Nancy going into it alone.

"Okay. I still don't like it."

"It's only for an hour. And we'll stay together. Okay?"

She squeezed his hand and nodded, leaning into his side. They started walking again, side by side.

Jessica knew that she was probably overreacting, but she didn't want any surprises. As far as she knew, there had only been one demogorgan and it had been taken care of, and she hadn't heard about anything weird going on around town and with as nosy as her brother and his friends were, they would've heard about it, which meant she would have as well.

Still, the woods were not her favorite place to be. The fact that she had to go into them for a school assignment meant she would like them even less.


The forest behind the high school was thick with trees, so even though the sun was shining brightly there wasn't much light filtering through the branches. The students had enough to see to do the assignment they had and that was about it

Steve stayed with Jessica the whole time; they were lab partners. Even if they hadn't been, she was his girlfriend, and he knew she didn't want to be there. She had admitted being a little bit afraid, so of course he stayed with her.

She seemed to be doing okay. She wasn't having any trouble breathing or anything else that could come with anything that reminded her of November, so it couldn't be but so bad. Still, he stayed.

"Why do we have to draw leaves? And bugs?" she asked.

They had a list of things that could be found in the woods behind the school and their assignment was to find and draw as many of them as they could. They were supposed to know what everything looked like – they'd been studying it for weeks now.

"You told me once that school was designed to drive you crazy," Steve said. "Well . . . there you go."

"Hm."

They continued on in relative silence until the teacher decided it was time for them to go back inside – they needed time to get back to class, gather their things, and get to their next class.

On the way back Steve asked, "So . . . about your party. Who do you want there?"

"Well, I mean, I don't know. Nothing big. Maybe a few people. Nancy, Jonathan, the kids. Tina's fine. Chris is fine. It's just going to be pizza, cake, and ice cream, so . . ."

Steve knew she wouldn't want anything huge, which was why he was planning a little get together at his house. They would have the party early, around lunch time, and then he would have her for the rest of the day. Her birthday just happened to fall on a Sunday that year, so it worked out that they wouldn't have to worry about school that day.

"And presents," he said. "Don't forget presents."

"Oh, how could we ever?" She grabbed onto his arm and walked with him. "What're you getting me?"

"I'm not telling you," he said, laughing. "It's a surprise for a reason. Uh . . . but I do have something to ask you."

"Okay . . ."

"What are you doing for spring break?"

"Probably not much. Why?"

Spring break was going to come late that year because Easter wasn't until the last week of April. His family usually went away for Easter. Nothing really changed; he still didn't get to see much of them, but they did leave Hawkins for the week.

"Well, you know, we go away for Spring break. We have that house by the lake – our vacation house – and I don't really want to spend a whole week away from you. I know we'd have to talk to your mom first, and I know she might say no, but you'll be an adult, and the whole reason she didn't want us to spend the night at my house without anyone there was because we're not adults yet. So . . ."

Steve knew that he was rambling, talking really fast, but the truth was he really didn't want to go without seeing Jessica for a week. If he thought he could get out of it, could just stay with her in Hawkins he wouldn't even ask, but he had to go. The week spent away was a vacation time, but it was also a time where his dad got together with all his work buddies. His dad wanted him to be there so he could get to know them a little. He did not want to do any such thing, but his dad still expected him to fall in line and follow in his footsteps.

He would need Jessica there to keep him from going crazy and from being completely miserable.

"Your parents will be there?"

"More or less. I mean, we'll be in the same house. I can't say they'll always be there."

"Right. I mean, I can ask, and I don't really see her having a problem with it since I will be eighteen."

Steve relaxed when he felt her fingers intertwine with his and he dipped his head to kiss her hair. He hoped her mom would say yes because even though he was going away with his parents he would still be very much alone if Jessica wasn't allowed to come with him.


That day after school Steve walked Jessica to her car. Baseball season was starting soon and he had to get to practice, but he still walked her to her car as he did every other school day.

They stopped by his car first because he needed to grab his sports bag. Jessica waited patiently as he popped the trunk and then watched as he got what he needed. Before he could close the trunk back up, though, she quickly placed her hand on it and applied a little pressure so he would know she didn't want it closed.

In the trunk, right there in the middle of it, was a very familiar bat with nails in it.

"Steve?" She looked at him, but he very pointedly would not look her in the eye. "Steve, you've been carrying this around with you ever since . . . You know?"

He shrugged but didn't say anything. He almost seemed ashamed to admit that what had happened had obviously affected him more than he'd ever let on to her.

"Steve? You're the one who told me that I should be able to talk to you about this stuff – that we should be able to talk to each other."

"There's nothing to talk about. Not really. I keep it as a precaution – just in case."

"Really?" Jessica removed her hand from the top of the trunk and moved closer to him. She grabbed his hand and lowered her voice. "Because it's okay if you're not okay. If . . . if things are still bothering you – I mean . . . I want to know if you're not okay. Okay? Because you have been there for me so many times through all this. You've been helping me through everything, so if you need my help . . ."

"I'm fine, Jess. I swear, it's just a precaution." He stepped closer to her as well and pulled her to him. "I used to see . . . it . . . in every shadow or when something moved in the dark too suddenly, and I do have the occasional nightmare. But I'm almost never alone now and that's because of you, so even if you didn't know it you were helping. You are helping."

Steve was alone a lot less now, that much was true, and she had never seen him wake from a nightmare or anything like that. She just hoped he was telling her the truth, because she hadn't even known he had kept the bat. She remembered they had taken it from the Byers' house the night everything had happened. She didn't think they had meant to, but she'd been holding it in the car when they'd left. After that she hadn't known what had happened to it or where it had gone.

Now she knew.

Jessica tilted her head up and pushed her lips against Steve's neck only for Steve to cup her face in his hands so he could kiss her properly. He still smiled into their kisses, and she still loved it when he did.

"I love you," he said.

"Mm." She kissed him quickly once more. "I love you too."

Once she was satisfied with the amount of kisses she'd given him she pulled away. He really did need to get to practice, and she knew that he would totally be okay with being late if it meant he got to be with her, so she had to be the responsible one when it came to that.

"I'll see you later."


"Nancy just called," her mom said almost as soon as Jessica walked through the door.

"Did she say what she wanted?"

"Just for you to call her back."

"Okay. Thanks."

Jessica went to the kitchen, dropped her stuff on the floor underneath the phone, and dialed the Wheeler's number. Mrs. Wheeler was the one who answered, but it didn't take long for Nancy to pick up once she knew who was calling.

"Hey," Nancy said. "I was just wondering if you wanted to go bowling. A group of people are heading over, thought you might want to join."

"Nance, I don't really bowl."

"Neither do I, but they have good food."

Jessica grinned. "Uh, okay. What time?"

"Now. We'd get there around four, stay for a few games, and then head back home."

"Okay, sure. Uh, Steve is at baseball practice, but he'll probably be coming over here later. I'll let mom know she he knows to stay here and wait, I guess."

Once Jessica was done talking, she hung up, told her mom what was going on, and then went upstairs to put her stuff in her room. She left with only her wallet and keys, figuring she wouldn't need anything else.

The bowling alley was in the next town over and it took about fifteen minutes to get there. The parking lot was packed, but it wasn't that hard to find a parking place. Nancy was waiting for her at the entrance; so was Jonathan. She was surprised. He wasn't one for social gatherings at all, so she wondered what Nancy had done to get him there.

"Uh, hi," she said, grinning at the fact that Jonathan wasn't in his element at all and that it was showing on his face. He looked like he was sucking on a lemon or was constipated . . . or both.

"Hi," he said, giving her a small smile – the expression was brief and then he went back to showing how uncomfortable he was.

Nancy took the lead by going on inside. With nothing else to do, Jessica and Jonathan followed her in. She went straight to the snack bar, which was fine with Jessica because she had no plans at all of bowling.

Jonathan ended up only getting a drink, but Jessica and Nancy ended up getting an order of nachos to share and a drink each.

There were little round tables up on a little platform in front of the alleys where people could sit if they weren't playing, so that's where they went. It was pretty cool; they were out of the way but still able to see what was going on around them.

There was a group of girls that Nancy seemed to know; they were actually bowling and only waved when they saw her. There was that group of girls Jessica had sat with at Steve's basketball game; she knew them but only well enough to say hi to. Some of the basketball team was there as well – Tommy was there with Carol, but Jessica had ignored them and they hadn't said anything to her either, which was a win in her book. There were even a few football players, who seemed to be there with their girlfriends, who were cheerleaders, and a few other football players who had apparently come without dates. The ones without dates were up on the platform with a whole lot of food at their table.

"So Mike got in trouble today at school. He was sent home early," Nancy said.

"What happened?"

"He started a food fight in the cafeteria."

"Mike?"

Jessica couldn't believe it. Mike had never been the one to cause trouble. Of course . . . he had changed a lot since November.

"Yeah, I couldn't believe it either," Nancy said.

"Is he in trouble?" Jonathan asked.

"He's grounded. I just don't understand why he's acting out this way. I mean, I get that he lost . . . you know, but I don't understand why he's getting in trouble because of it."

"People grieve differently. All you can do is let him know that you're there for him."

They continued talking for about thirty minutes, about life, about what was new. Jonathan had been a witness to Will having an episode where he'd thought he was back in the Upside Down. They didn't happen often, but it was still enough to scare Jonathan and his mom. Nancy had taken to having weekly dinners with Barb's parents, mostly because she felt guilty about her friend's death.

"Is that . . . okay? I mean, don't you feel the need to tell them when you're with them?" Jessica asked. "What if you slip up?"

"I haven't. I'm not going to. I just . . . feel like I have to do something and this is the only thing I know to do right now."

A few minutes later the group that Jessica knew came over and invited them to play a game or two with them. They were going to go up against the guys that hadn't come with dates.

"Uh . . . guys?"

Nancy and Jonathan adamantly refused.

"Come on, we need one more."

"I won't be much help," Jessica said. "I have no aim."

"We'll let you guys use the guard rails," one of the football players said. "No big deal."

Jessica sent a look Nancy's way. She shrugged and smiled.

"We'll watch from here."

"If you guys were real friends, you wouldn't make me play alone," she teased.

Both the group of girls and the football players seemed glad that they'd gotten her to give in.

"All right, let me go get some shoes. I'll be there in a minute."


Once Jessica got her shoes and put them on, she went over to the group of girls. The game was so not going to be fair because it was going to be girls against boys. She was prepared to lose even if she was allowed to have the guard rails up; they all seemed to need it.

The place had a no food on the floor policy, but drinks were allowed, so they all got a cup of soda each, Jessica getting a refill on her own.

The game went better than Jessica thought that it would even though she barely broke a hundred on the score board. She still had fun – mostly because she was able to laugh at herself for not being athletically inclined at all.

"You weren't joking when you said you didn't bowl," one of the guys said. She thought his name was Jason, but she wasn't sure. She didn't know all of the guys on the football team.

"I really wasn't. I can't do much at all when it comes to any type of sport. Steve is even helping me so I can make it through the mile."

"You wanna play another one?"

"Uh . . . sure. Let me check in with Nancy and Jonathan real quick, see how long they're staying. I'll be back."

Nancy and Jonathan were still on the platform. They were still talking, both smiling every so often, and she could tell they had been watching her totally fail at bowling.

"What time were you guys wanting to leave? They want to play another, but if you're leaving soon, I'll just hang with you guys and then play after."

"We're getting ready to go now, actually. You seem to be enjoying yourself."

"I am. Surprisingly. You sure you don't mind me playing?"

"No, go ahead."

Jessica grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair she'd placed it on when she'd first sat down and then went back to the group of girls she was playing with.

"We good?" one of the girls asked, and Jessica nodded.

"I can only play one more, then I have to go home. Homework and all."

"And Steve," the same girl said. It caused Jessica to grin and maybe even blush a little.

"And Steve," she agreed.

It was as Jessica was taking her fourth turn of the game that a bout of dizziness hit her, and she wasn't even able to lift the ball properly to line up her shot. It just hit her all of a sudden and everything became too much. The lights in the building hurt her eyes, all the talking jumbled up and hurt her head.

"Jess?" It was one of the girls again. She wasn't sure which one. "Are you okay?"

"You don't look so great."

Someone grabbed her by the shoulder and led her to a bench nearby so she could sit down.

"I – I think I'm gonna be sick."

"You need to go to the bathroom?"

She nodded even though she wasn't sure she would make it there. Sure, she could stand, but moving on her own was going to be hard. She was so weak.

"Here, I've got her," Jason said. "I'm gonna take her to get her shoes. I'll sit with her outside for a bit. Maybe the cold air will help clear her head."

She stood up, holding out her hands against him when he took hold of her arms. "I can do it. I need my jacket."

It was slow-going, but she eventually made her way to the counter to exchange the rented shoes for her own. She almost fell to the ground when she had to bend over to take them off and put hers back on, but Jason kept her pretty steady.

"What exactly is wrong?" he asked

"I'm just d-dizzy and my brain is kind of . . . kind of foggy."

In the back of her mind she knew that her words were coming out slower than they should and that they were kind of slurred. She felt . . . she felt drunk, which was ridiculous because they didn't sell alcohol at the bowling alley. Something was wrong.

"What time is it? I'm just . . . I 'm just gonna call Steve, okay?"

There was a payphone near the restrooms; she could call him from there. He'd be at her house by now.

She was still able to walk on her own, but not very well. She kept bumping into people, and her vision was blurring even more. When she finally reached the payphone, she couldn't even make out the numbers to dial properly. In fact, she could barely make herself pick up the phone off of the receiver.

"You didn't even put a quarter in the slot, Henderson."

Oh yeah. It was a payphone.

"Let's get you outside. You really need some fresh air, hm?"

"I'm – I don't want to go anywhere with you, Jason."

"In a few minutes, you won't care where we go. I can wait."

What?

He crowded into her space, backed her right against the wall, and placed one hand in her hair and one on her waist. She began to struggle, whatever that was worth because she could barely move, she was so weak.

"Come on, s-stop," she said. She knew she wasn't speaking loud enough to be heard by anyone but him. She couldn't make her voice work right.

The hand on her waist slid over her stomach and down to the zipper of her jeans. She was able to grab his wrist, but it didn't keep him from sliding the zipper down.

Suddenly she knew exactly what had happened. He had put something in her drink. She had left it alone when she'd gone to talk to Nancy and Jonathan and when she'd played her turn each time during the game. Who knew how long she'd had it in her system? Long enough to have made her feel like she was going to pass out.

Jason held her head still so he could slot his lips over hers and he didn't seem to like it when she fought to keep her mouth shut.

She knew she should be angry or scared, but she couldn't feel much of anything at all. Her body was kind of numb. She knew she didn't want his mouth or hands on her, but she couldn't find the energy to really care about it.

The only thing she was aware of was the fact that one second he was trying to push her jeans down and had succeeded in getting them halfway down her thighs and the next he was jerked away from her.

Her body slid down all the way until her bottom hit the floor and she brought her knees up to wrap her arms around them. Someone was suddenly there beside her and she wanted to flinch but she couldn't.

"Jess?"

It ended up being Nancy. She apparently hadn't left when she'd said she was going to. Neither had Jonathan; she could hear him too. He was yelling at Jason. Something about Jason saying it was none of his business, she wasn't putting up a fight, and Jonathan saying it didn't look like she had the choice to.

"Jess, come on, let me help you up."

She did get up eventually, and Nancy helped get her back in order, her clothes back in place. She wasn't sure what happened then with Jason and Jonathan, where Jason went, but Jonathan and Nancy stayed there with her in the hallway. She wanted to sit back down, so she did. Nancy sat beside her and Jessica leaned against her.

It didn't take her long to pass out. It was the weirdest thing because she could feel herself fading – the noise, the lights – so it wasn't sudden. She knew she was going to pass out.

And so she did


Nancy stayed with Jessica, there on the floor in the hallway, while Jonathan made a phone call to Hawkins Police Station – she hoped Hopper would be there, or if he wasn't that Flo, his secretary would know what to do.

It was Jonathan who had noticed something was up in the first place. They had made it to the exit already before they'd seen Jason following Jessica to the hallway that lead to the bathrooms. Nancy hadn't really thought anything of it until Jonathan had pointed out that Jessica had been walking a little weird, stumbling into people and things like that. They had decided to follow after them, and it was a good thing they had.

Jason had been all over Jessica, and she'd just been there pressed against the wall and barely moving because she couldn't. Jonathan had forced Jason away from Jessica and hadn't had to use violence, surprisingly.

Now Jessica was passed out and Nancy was just making sure she was breathing properly. Who knew what Jason had given her and what it would do to her? What if she threw up while passed out? She could choke on her on vomit.

Once Jonathan was done talking, he squatted down beside them.

"Hop is calling a few people he knows from the police force here. They'll check things out. We have to get her to a hospital. He said Hawkins is fine. Since . . . since we got here in time, he's just doing it for record purposes anyway."

Jonathan had to end up carrying Jessica to his car – they would have to leave hers there and have someone come get it later. Nancy had to leave hers there too, so she could ride in the back with Jessica.

"You know, she was only here because I asked her to be."

"That doesn't make this your fault."

That was all that was said as Jonathan took off, going faster than was probably safe but definitely faster than was legal.


Okay, so this has been playing in my mind since I've really started this story, that at some point someone would put something in Jessica's drink, I just didn't know when or who would. I had it going through my mind that Tommy would do it, not to really hurt her, just to mess with her, but then this happened instead. I don't know how true it is, but I read on Tumblr that Steve was supposed to have date-raped Nancy in the first season when he invited her over to his house, but that Joe hadn't really liked that idea at all and they changed it. THANK GOD, NOT MY BOY! Anyway, but since they had originally been going to have that in the show, I thought that it sort of validated my idea that something like that would happen, and since Steve was the one that usually watched her drink she wasn't used to doing it herself, and also BROAD DAYLIGHT and IN A BOWLING ALLEY! There will be falling out from this, but I'm going to try and deal with it as realistically and logically as possible. Let me know what you guys think.

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