Chapter Five

Jimbo curled up in her lap and purred, begging for a scratch behind the ears, or anything he could get.  He was so loving and seemed to be able to sense whenever she was feeling a certain way.  If she was sad, he was too, and he'd lean up on her shoulder, kneading at her chest and stroking her cheek with his rough tongue.  If she was happy, he was too, and would curl up in her lap and just purr all day long.  He was a good companion for her.

Suddenly, she heard the phone ring.  She hopped up to get it, causing Jimbo to fall.  He landed on his paws but hissed in annoyance as she went on to the phone, paying him absolutely no attention whatsoever.  She picked it up and said hello.

"Hey Lucy, it's Jesse."  Her mind went blank and her heart skipped a beat.  Jesse...

"Um...hey..."

The name rang out in her ears and in her heart.  Jesse Davidson.  Her first kiss.  Her first love.  Her first time.  Her first slow dance.  He had been her everything- her first everything.  She hadn't spoken to him since their five-year high school reunion, and that had been more than two years ago.  She had absolutely adored him, but they broke up on graduation day.  He was going to college in California and she in D.C., and had called it off because he knew it would be close to impossible to be in a relationship that was divided onto two different sides of the country.  She had been devastated.  She went through a tough time with it, but the months went by, turned into years, and he became nothing but an old scar on her heart.  She relapsed a bit when she saw him at the reunion, but Diedre saw her through and she came out just fine and eventually got to a point where she thought nothing of him, ever.  She was shocked by his call, but didn't want to seem upset over the phone.

"We had some good times, Davie..."  She put a palm to her face.  She had used his nickname- the nickname that only she had ever call him by.  She was so mad at herself.  It had been almost eight years since their breakup, and she still let him get to her.  She shook her head and refused to cry- absolutely refused it.

"Yeah...yeah we did.  Listen, I'm going to be in D.C. on business.  I'll be there Wednesday, and I was wondering if I could meet you for dinner that night."  Jesse held his breath.  The first girl he ever dated was on the other line and he really wanted to see her again.  It had been an eternity since they'd seen each other and he missed her.  He wasn't going to tell his girlfriend.  She didn't even know about Lucy.  He knew he should've told her long ago, but he just didn't have the heart to.  It was too emotional.  He had loved Lucy so much, and their breakup had cut him deeply.  He didn't want that to affect his current relationship...although he still had feelings for the green-eyed, fiery redhead- the love of his younger days.
Lucy's heart skipped a beat.  He was asking he to dinner.  She wondered; was it a date?  She didn't know, and didn't plan on finding out.  He hurt her once and she wasn't going to let him do it again.  She couldn't take another heartbreak, especially from Jesse.  She wouldn't admit to anyone, including herself,  that with his sudden reappearance in her life, her feelings came flooding back.

"Um...let me think.  Wednesday?  No, no.  I don't have anything.  Sure, I'd love to go to dinner!"

"Great!  That's fantastic.  See you at six, then?  We can meet at your place."  He smiled.  He was actually going to get to see her.  He was so happy.  They were going to get to catch up on so much lost time.  He hadn't expected a yes, and was glad for it when it came.  It was such a relief.  But the matter of his girlfriend still weighed on his mind.  He put it aside for the time being.  He was not going to let either of them find out.  Knowing Lucy, she'd be appalled and Heather...well, she'd just be plain livid.

"You did what!?"  The look of shock on Diedre's face made Lucy hang her head in shame.  She knew that she shouldn't have done what she did.  She was disappointed in herself more than ever.  Jesse had broken her heart, causing her not to date anyone since.

"I don't know, D...I just...you know what he does to me.  You know what I went through with him.  He was my first everything."  Lucy sighed heavily, her breath shaking as she did so.  She was on the verge of tears and let things get to her far too easily, and this was definitely one of those things.  She knew she made the wrong decision, but wasn't rude enough to call him back and cancel.  She didn't have the heart to.

"Yeah.  I know that.  But he hurt you, Luce...he really hurt your feelings.  First of all, seeing him again is just going to make it worse.  Second of all, what if he's just playing you?  You know?  I don't want to make you mad or anything, but be realistic."  Lucy looked at her with tired, weary eyes.  Her face was tear-stained.  She had been up all night tossing and turning, dozing in and out of sleep.  She even wrote and drank some warm milk.  She also tried watching late-night television, but nothing seemed to work.  She ended up getting about three hours of sleep.  It wasn't like she chose to handle it like that.  She knew that Diedre was right.  Jesse could very well be playing her.  Or it could just be a friendly visit between old schoolmates.

"I know.  I'm going to do this.  I can't help it; I feel like I have to.  I know it's wrong, D, but it's just what I feel like I need to do."  She took a sip of her caffeinated coffee in her trusty old White House mug and set it back down on the table with a loud clink.  She averted her eyes, afraid of the looks she would be getting.

Diedre looked at Lucy, a clear feeling of disappointment spread across her face.  She remembered when she last helped her friend with this issue.  She had done just what she was doing now- putting Jesse down and building Lucy up.  In doing that, she was only being honest.  She hated Jesse with a burning passion.  He was a dirty player who had hurt his best friend.
She was very protective of Lucy and didn't know what she'd do without her.  He was a flirt; a guy who thought he could have it all.  Well she had news for him; he couldn't.  And she was determined to stop her friend from proving him right.

"Well...I guess you have to do what you have to do...  And, if it doesn't, I can't say I won't tell you I told you so.  Good luck."  She got up to leave.  It was pretty late in the morning and she couldn't spend the rest of it dawdling at Lucy's, no matter how much she loved her.  She hugged her goodbye, petted Jimbo, then left quietly.  Lucy watched her go and sighed.  Diedre was so smart.  She knew right from wrong in her heart and always followed what it told her to do.  Lucy had never been like that.  She was bad at making decisions, but only when they concerned herself.  She was a commanding beast at work, but in the outside world, she was a timid, indecisive little girl.  At least, that's how she saw herself.  She appeared to have a high self-esteem at History Alive!, but that was all a very cruel charade.  She wanted to be able to be herself everywhere, in every part of her life, and she wanted that self to be very strong, confident, and yet sensitive and kind...kind of like her best friend.

But, still...she had to trust that Jesse was either just wanting to catch up, or that he missed her and wanted he back, and actually wanted to be true to her.  One of those had to be right; she had to believe in that, no matter what anyone else said.  She and Jesse had only broken up because of distance.  That was the only reason.  When he left, it was like a wound was opened that never once closed.  It was just masked as time went by.  She looked down at her ever-loving cat.

"What are you going to do with me, Jim?"  He let out a disgruntled purr and covered his snout.  She laughed.

The End

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