The Golden Girl @creativewoman88
Chapter 23

Chapter Twenty-Three

Friday was an interesting day of school as well, but not for the same reason as Thursday had been. Sure, there were rumors still going around, only now there was a rumor about Jessica having been drugged as well. Steve was completely cool with that, since it wasn't a false rumor, and people needed to be warned – girls needed to know about Jason so they would be aware when he was around them.

What made it even more interesting was that the word 'rapist' had been written on Jason Donovan's locker. Steve noticed it when he walked by it – and how could he not have? It was in all capital letters, written in black, going from the top of his locker all the way to the bottom of it.

Steve didn't know for sure who had done it, but he could safely say he didn't think Nancy or Jonathan would have. One of his team members might have, and most of the boys in the locker room had heard about the drugs when he'd fought with Tommy the day before. All Steve knew was that he hadn't done it, and he didn't care that someone had. It served Jason right, having it out there like that, because even if he hadn't had his way with Jessica . . . he had tried to and that was bad enough. He would've done it had Jonathan not interrupted.

Another interesting thing that happened that day is that Carol publicly broke up with Tommy. She'd heard about what Tommy had said and let him know how awful it had been. Sure, Carol wasn't the best or most mature person her own self, but she definitely let Tommy know what for when she smacked him across the face in the hallway between third and fourth period.

"I don't know what the big deal is," Tommy said.

"The big deal is that you basically said it's okay to drug a girl if she won't have sex with you any other way!" Carol screamed. "It's disgusting. Is that what you would do to me if I decided I didn't want to have sex with you?"

They went back and forth like that for a few minutes before Carol let him have it, and then she walked away. Steve had never thought he'd see the day that Tommy would do something so bad that Carol would call him out on it, but it had happened.

It just about made his day. Even when he was called to the principal's office and even when he saw that Hopper was standing there in his work attire his mood wasn't spoiled. He already knew what it was about, and he knew he hadn't done it so he was going to be fine.

"Hey, Steve," Hopper said. "I can tell you know why I'm here."

"I'm assuming it's about the wonderful piece of artwork that was left on Donovan's locker."

Hopper's mouth twitched, but he didn't smile. It wouldn't have been professional. It was still nice to know that Hopper probably wasn't even going to do anything much about it; he was on their side.

"Do you know anything about it?"

"Nope. It was already there when I got here this morning."

The principal, who was behind his desk, cleared his throat. "You realize no one really suspects you. I had to call you in because of your connection to Miss Henderson and because of what happened yesterday between you and Mr. Hall. I had to appear fair, and Chief Hopper has to appear to be chasing every lead."

To Hopper, the principal said, "The janitor is the one who saw the writing first. The bus riders are usually the first students to arrive on any given day. You can put out word to the students to let you know if anyone saw anything, but unless someone comes forward, we will probably never know who did it."

Steve was completely fine with that. He hoped no one came forward; he was thankful to whoever had exposed Jason for what he was.

The rest of the day went by uneventfully, and Donovan's locker had been cleaned by the time school was let out. Steve went to baseball practice mainly because he had to let his coach in on his detention for the next week, and then he was back at Jessica's by five-thirty.

She was feeling a little better and was able to hold food down, at least, even if she didn't feel like doing anything other than staying in and listening to music or watching TV.

Steve stayed with her Friday night, but his parents had come home for a few days, so he went home Saturday night. He didn't even mention detention to his parents because it wasn't like they would care, anyway, as long as it didn't cause any problems with the coach. It wouldn't really be a problem at all – detention lasted an hour, so he could still make the second half of practices.

On Sunday, Steve received a call from Nancy asking if it was okay to go see Jessica.

"Well, why don't you call and ask her?"

"I did. She said she was fine, but I wanted to make sure. I knew you weren't over there, so I figured you'd be home. Is she okay enough for me to go see her?"

"Yeah. She's still a little weak, but she's up watching TV and stuff. I, uh, still don't know if she remembers anything. She hasn't said anything if she does."

She had promised to tell him if she wasn't okay, and Steve believed that she would, but he also thought that she might not want to talk about what had happened with him, might not want to talk about it with a guy, period. Maybe Nancy going over would be a good thing.

"Hey, uh, I never told her about what happened at school. I mean, she knows people were talking because people always talk, but nothing specific. And she doesn't know anything about Friday."

"Okay . . ." He heard the hesitation in Nancy's voice. "Does that mean you want me to tell her or that you don't want me to say anything?"

"If she asks, I mean, don't lie to her, but I was kind of hoping I could tell her. I told her I would, so . . ."


Jessica was just getting started on what was left of her homework when Nancy showed up. She'd known the girl was coming, having talked to her recently on the phone, so she wasn't surprised by the visit.

Nancy didn't interrupt her school work; she just sat with her while she continued. Jessica knew that Nancy wanted to know how she was doing, but she was glad that she didn't just ask outright.

To be honest, Jessica felt mostly fine. She was a little nervous to get back to school, mostly because of what Steve had said about people talking. She'd known they would, but from Steve's reaction it had to be bad. Steve wasn't violent in most circumstances.

They made small talk for about fifteen minutes, but Jessica eventually pushed her textbook away.

"Hey, uh, I never got a chance to thank you guys . . . for not leaving right away. I don't, uh –"

"Jonathan was the one who noticed how you were acting," Nancy said. "I think maybe he suspected, and then we saw, you know, Jason following you."

"Right. I . . . still don't remember everything. Like, I remember wanting to call Steve, and then there are flashes. Uh, I know he kissed me and that he was trying to . . . If you guys hadn't come, he would've –"

She was having trouble saying the word it was like it literally got stuck in her throat and couldn't make it past her lips.

"You don't have to say it," Nancy said, reaching over to grab her hand. "And . . . for what it's worth . . . people at school know what he did. It was all over the school Friday. I mean, obviously people are going to believe what they want to believe, but the people who know you know what happened."


That was good. People needed to know what Jason had done, that it wasn't safe for girls to be around him. She would have preferred him to have some kind of legal punishment, but if she couldn't have that, then having people know what he'd done so they'd stay away from him was the next best thing.

Steve had stayed at home Sunday for as long as he could. He made it through dinner, at least, but then he had to get out of there. His mom was working on some charity event thing, which didn't involve him, and his dad had locked himself away in his office.

They had made very stilted conversation at dinner, mostly about how baseball was going and whether or not he thought he could keep his grades up. To be fair, if he didn't have Jessica helping him, he probably wouldn't have been able to, but now he studied more because he studied with her.

He ended up calling Jessica, mostly to see if Nancy had left already, which she had, but also to see if she maybe wanted to go out that night, maybe for a milkshake.

"I don't know, Steve. I don't really want to be around people right now."

"Well . . . what if we just go in, grab the milkshakes, and then go somewhere else? We can just drive around even, if you want."

"That sounds better. I'll be ready when you get here." There was a pause, during which Steve thought maybe she was done talking, but then she said, "Is it that bad? Your parents?"

"No worse than normal. We talked for a little over dinner and then went our separate ways."

"Oh. Well, come pick me up and save yourself."

"On my way."

Jessica's mom stopped her as she made her way from the kitchen to the stairs.

"You're going out?"

"Uh, yeah. Milkshakes with Steve. We might drive around a bit."


Her mom sounded serious but cautious and Jessica didn't know what to do with that.

"Mom? I – is everything okay? I mean, it's okay that I go, right?"

"Of course." Her mom gave her a small smile. "Just . . . stay with Steve, okay?"

"Yeah. Sure, um . . ."

Jessica's eyes started burning and her throat suddenly felt clogged and she wanted to rush up the stairs before she burst into tears like she knew she was going to do, but she felt rooted to the spot.

"It's just I don't want you getting hurt," her mom said. "And I know that sounds silly, it won't happen again, you're careful and he's careful, but you –"

The dam broke and Jessica felt her face scrunch up as the first tear fell. She'd sort of been numb since the whole incident at the bowling alley, she hadn't really allowed herself to feel anything, but she felt it now.


She could've been raped. What had happened was bad enough, but it could've been so much worse. She'd had hands and lips forced on her. She'd had hands and lips that weren't Steve's, hands and lips that weren't gentle and tender – hands and lips that had wanted to hurt her.

And now here her mom was showing her how worried she was for her to just go out with Steve, and the thing was . . . Jessica was worried too. She didn't want to run into anyone from school, didn't want to know what they were saying or what they thought even if Nancy had tried to assure her that everyone knew what Jason was and what he'd done to her, that the ones who mattered knew.

And the thing was . . . Jessica had never cared what other people thought about her, but she cared about this. It mattered what people thought about this situation.

Before she knew it, she'd been led to the couch and was sobbing in her mother's arms. She could tell her mother was crying too.

All the while, Jessica was wondering if she was having this much trouble just going to get a milkshake, how was she ever going to make it in school the next day?

Needless to say, Jessica was not ready when Steve got there. She was, however, up in her room getting ready.

He had knocked on the front door like he normally did. Also like normal, he didn't wait for anyone to open the door; he just went on in. Ms. Henderson was seated on the couch and Steve could tell right away that something wasn't right. She didn't greet him like she usually did when he came over, and her eyes were rimmed with red.

"She's upstairs. She should be down in a minute. I held her up for a few minutes after you two got off the phone, so she's running a little late."

"That's okay. There's no rush."

"I think – I think you'll need to be really careful with her tonight. She's –" Ms. Henderson glanced toward the stairs, as if checking to see if Jessica was coming down yet; she wasn't –" she's fragile. It finally hit her, what happened."

"Oh, I –" Steve was so far out of his element with this. "Should we not go out? If she's not feeling up to it . . ."

"No, she probably needs to. I know she's worried about it, but she needs to go out. She still has to go to school in the morning."

Steve nodded and gestured towards the stairs. "Can I?"

"Of course."

So Steve did. He made his way quickly up the stairs and to Jessica's room. The door was open, so he knew she was decent. He tapped his knuckles against the door anyway.

She was standing in the middle of her room, fully dressed and pulling her hair into a messy pony tail. When she looked at him, he noticed that her eyes were red as well. She and her mother had both been crying.

He didn't hesitate. He stepped in the room and just kept going until he made it to her. He held his arms out and she basically fell into them. She grabbed onto the front of his shirt and just held on, fists clenched tightly against the material.

"He was all over me, Steve," she said, her voice muffled from where her face was pressed against him. "His hands, and . . . I'm not okay, Steve. I thought I was, but I'm not because it's there in my head."

"I thought you didn't remember it," he said.

"I don't really, and it's only flashes, but Mom said something, and I just – I don't know."

Steve drew soothing circles on her back where his hands had landed when he'd embraced her. He knew she was crying again, and he hated it, especially since he didn't know how to make it better.

"I kind of don't want to go to school tomorrow," she said. "I don't want to risk seeing him."

Steve stopped rubbing her back then, but only so he could grab her shoulders and push her away enough so they could see each other.

"Jess, you're going to be fine. Okay? I know you're not right now because he's got you all messed up in the head, but . . . you took on a literal monster last November. Remember? A literal monster, not some stupid jock who had to stoop to using drugs to try and get at you. You did that, with a machete."

That was it. That was all he had: his belief that she would be okay. He hoped that his words would help her, that she would realize that she had faced other tough things and had gotten through them, so she would get through this too.

It took a few minutes for Jessica to calm back down enough to step away from Steve, but when she did, she grabbed her leather jacket and slipped it on.

They made their way back downstairs, where they both said bye to her mom, and then they went to his car. He opened the door for her so she could get in and then closed it once she was settled.

Jessica sat there in silence as Steve got in his side, started the car, and started driving. She reached for his hand, though, and he let her have it.



"Can we just drive around? I don't know if I can do a milkshake right now."

"Sure." He squeezed her hand. "So, do you want to know about school now or –"

"Yes. That way we can enjoy the rest of the drive."

Once Steve told her what had happened on Thursday and Friday – that the rumors had basically gone from people thinking she and Jason had gone off together, which wasn't true at all, to basically the truth, which was that he'd followed her and had drugged her – Jessica realized that she'd been worrying for nothing.

When he told her about the word that had been spray-painted on Jason's locker, she relaxed even more. Maybe the next day wouldn't be so bad after all.

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