I woke up to find myself in Kenny’s arms. A blanket covered us and Kenny was breathing lightly, seemingly asleep. For a moment I was tempted to snuggle deeper into his embrace, to close my eyes and fall asleep again, enveloped in the luxury of knowing I was safe and loved... but then I remembered what I had done and why and, with some effort, pushed Kenny away from me and sat up.
Kenny’s eyes opened and he looked at me. He smiled softly.
“Hey, Jen,” he said with a warmth that threatened to melt my heart, barely braced as it was to break its newfound counterpart.
“What are you doing on my bed?” I asked coolly.
Kenny frowned, sitting up as well.
“Oh... I wanted to make sure you were all right. Are you?”
“Yes, I’m fine, thanks. You can go home now.”
Kenny’s frown deepened.
“Jennifer... are you sure you’re all right?”
“Great,” I said, trying to sound convincing without sounding lovestruck as I half wanted to. “But you don’t need to be here anymore, do you?”
Kenny sounded scared.
“But you want me to be here? Don’t you, Jen? Tell me you want me to be here.”
“Well, I’d rather you weren’t, considering it’s night-time and ‘here’ is my bedroom.”
Kenny went pale and rigid and his wings seemed to droop.
“Jen, no... Don’t say... I was sure the feathers had worked. Please don’t tell me you don’t love me anymore.”
“Was I in love with you in the first place?”
“Yes,” Kenny said painfully. “Tonight, you kissed me. Don’t you remember?”
I pretended to be horrified.
“I do! Why did I ever do that? Did you make me?”
Kenny looked distraught. My heart ached at the sight of his distress.
“No, Jennifer: you did it of your own will.”
“But why would I do something like that?”
“Jen, no, please no,” Kenny said, actually beginning to tremble.
“I think you should leave,” I said, part of me growing terrified that if there ever came a time where Kenny and I could be together, he would hate me when he discovered that my disinterest for him had been an act.
“Jen.” Kenny looked anguished. He reached out to touch my hair but I shrank away from his touch.
Kenny stood up, shaking.
“Jen, I love you. Please, please love me back.”
“I don’t,” I told him simply, though I wanted so desperately to get up and hug him, to tell him I was sorry, to feel his arms around me once again.
With a look of horror on his face that would haunt me all that night, Kenny melted into the night, teleporting out of my room. Feeling cold and utterly heartless, I got back into bed and tried to get to sleep. But I couldn’t stop thinking of Kenny’s expression, of the pain in his eyes... Had this really been the right thing to do? But I thought of Chaos and I thought of Susanna and most importantly I thought of Kenny being punished. Yes, it had been right. If I hadn’t done this, that would be the sign that I didn’t love Kenny anymore. And I loved him still.