Jess is just starting her second semester of being a Junior in high school. To start the semester off, she volunteers to show the new kid around the school. Mainly because she gets to skip gym class, but also because she is intrigued by the idea of meeting someone new. Over the first month of school, Jess becomes really close friend with the new student, but who wouldn't become best friends with Louis Tomlinson. He's funny, entertaining, and not to mention cute, but Jess would never admit to thinking that. Louis is always there for Jess, especially when she gets heart shattering news that changes everything.


16. Fifteen.

I woke up the next morning to the feeling of Louis' warm body next to mine. I was uncomfortably hot underneath the covers, especially with Louis clinging to me. I rolled him off of me, kicking the blanket off my legs as I sat up. Louis rolled over, curling up with the blankets pulled tight against him. His face was shaped in discomfort, ghastly and sheen from sweat. I pressed the back of my hand to his forehead. He was really warm.

I slowly climbed out of bed, careful not to disturb Louis, and started a mission to find a cold cloth to put on Louis' head. I heard someone in the kitchen, so I headed there to recruit Johannah for help.

“Hi, Johannah,” I said as I entered the kitchen.

“Hi, dear. Where's Louis?” She asked with a smile.

“I think he's sick. He's burning up. I came down to find something cold to put on his head.”

“Oh, no! That's not good. I'll go check on him,” she went to the sink to dampen a cloth.

“It's fine. I can take that up to him. You enjoy your breakfast,” I smiled at her, taking the cloth before she could protest.

As selfish as it is, I needed Louis to be well enough to go back to school with me. I could never survive school without him. He's my rock. I was scared to go back in general, not having Louis beside me made everything worse. After all, he was my boyfriend, who I have yet to show off. I smiled at the thought of walking around the school holding his hand, that goofy grin leaving my face when I walked into the room and saw Louis laying in bed. He looked really ill.

I climbed onto the bed next to him, moving his hair our of his face with my fingers. I looked down at him, smiling once I saw that his eyes were open.

“Hi,” he said to me.

“Hey,” I said back, still combing my fingers through his hair. “I brought this for your head.”

Louis took the cloth from my hands and placed it on his forehead. “I think I'm dying.”

“I don't like that,” I frowned.

“Shoot,” he looked at me, a worried look in his eyes. “I'm sorry, Jess. I didn't mean it like that.”

“I know, it still gets to me,” I sighed. “I hate you for being sick and making me go back to class alone.”

“If I didn't feel like vomiting everywhere, I would go,” he chuckled lightly.

I kissed his warm forehead and stood up. I took one of Louis' hoodies and went down the hall to the bathroom. I showered and dressed in a pair of leggings, that I happened to have in Louis' room for some reason, and his hoodie. I slid it on, the smell of Louis invading my senses as the soft fabric came around me like a warm hug. It made me feel close to Louis.

“You look cute in my clothes,” Louis said to me when I came back into the room.

“Please feel better,” I kissed him on the cheek before I left the room.

I got downstairs before I had to turn back around to his room. I felt an overloading amount of emotions when I realized that I would have to tackle the day without him. He wouldn't be there to keep me steady while I'm bombarded with questions that force me to explain over and over again why I've been gone. He wouldn't be there to hold me hand as people looked at me like I was the girl with the dying brother, which I was, but that didn't make it less horrifying. I needed him there to hug me when I felt like crying. I needed him there to keep me company during class. I needed him there to keep the loneliness from crawling over me.

“I thought you left?” He asked as I ran back into his room.

“I need a hug,” my voice cracked.

I collapsed onto the bed next to him, falling into his warm embrace. I cherished the feeling of being close to him. I memorized the feeling of Louis' thumb rubbing my back, his arms tightly around me, and his cheek pressed to mine. I breathed every bit of him in, every part of him making me feel a surplus of comfort and care and love.

“Are you okay, Jess?” Louis whispered in my ear.

“I'm terrified,” I admitted. “I don't want to explain to anyone what's going on in my life. I don't want to receive the pity stares or the fake words of sympathy. I don't want to go through this all alone.”

“Listen to me,” he leaned back so I had to look him in the eyes. “You are strong, Jess. I know that you are capable of doing this. You also don't owe anyone an explanation. You have the right to tell people to back off. And, more importantly, you won't be alone. You'll have so many people around you that genuinely care about you and care about your well being.”

I nodded. He was right.

I hope.

I met Jenna in the parking lot when I arrived at school, and the first thing I did was give her a hug. Jenna knew how nervous I was about coming back to school and seeing everyone again, so it was such a relief to be able to walk into the building with her, knowing that she has my back. I felt as if everyone was staring at me as we made our way to our group of friends, like they were all whispering about me with their friends. My cheeks started to burn, so I ducked my head and continued walking until I heard someone gasp.

“Oh, my God. Is that Jessica Benson?” I heard Hannah say.

“No way. We must be picturing this,” Bentley said.

“Nah, that's just a hallucination,” Abigail said.

“You know, it's been so long since I last saw Jess, I've forgotten what she looks like,” Garret said.

“I think she has a really big nose,” Bentley added.

“I do not have a big nose,” I laughed as I sat down with my friends.

“The hallucination talks!” Abigail smiled at me. She hugged me. “I'm so glad you're back.”

It took seconds for things to be back to normal with my friends and I. It was as if I was never gone. It was as if I hadn't gone so long without talking to them. They were treating me like normal. They didn't try to pressure me into telling them what had happened, they didn't even ask. And I appreciated that more than they knew. They knew fully well that I would tell them when I was ready.

And I was.

“So,” I started. “I'm guessing you guys want to know where I disappeared to.”

They turned serious as I spoke, stopping their side conversations and focusing on me. It made me feel nervous, to be in front of them and talking about something so sensitive to me.

“Well. My brother, Jared,” I cleared my throat. “He has leukemia. And I took it rather hard. I didn't see my family, I was too mad about the lies they had been telling me about my brother's health.”

“Where did you go then?” Abigail asked me.

“Oh. I was at Louis',” I blushed, biting my lip to keep from smiling. “Anyway, Jared is fine at this point. They are having to advance his treatments, so he looks really sick now. Which is really heartbreaking, but, to make things worse, he's thinking about death. A ten year old should not be worried about dying,” I stopped as I felt myself get choked up.

“Hey,” I looked up at the sound of Bentley's voice. “We're here for you, Jess. We always will be.”

“You're like a sister to all of us,” Jenna added. “We love you.”

I felt a couple tears roll down my cheeks at the words and thoughtful looks my friends were giving me.

“Way to go, Jenna. You made her cry,” Garret whacked Jenna on the arm.

I laughed and wiped my cheeks with my sleeve. “You guys have no idea how much this means me. I was so scared that you all would hate me for ignoring you for so long. I'm so grateful to have you guys.”

“You've always been there for us, and now it's time for us to be there for you,” Abigail smiled at me, as the warning bell rang.

“I love you guys,” I said, standing up and opening my arms for hug.

We hugged, said goodbye, and went out separate ways to class. The nervous feeling returned to my stomach, making the hallway spin as I headed to my first hour class. I felt small and alone as I walked into history without Louis. The stares from my classmates didn't felt, either. I tried to ignore them, keeping my head down and breathing, while I went to my teacher's desk to put my late work in the basket. I walked to my seat, instinctively looking over at the desk that belonged to Louis. I signed, looking away and directing my attention to the teacher walking into the classroom.

“Jess! You're back!” My teacher, Mrs. Folley, always liked me for some reason.

Hi,” I said back, feeling my cheeks burn under everyone's eyes.

I sunk lower in my chair.

“I hope you had a good reason to miss so much school. Was it exciting?” She asked, placing her belongings on her desk.

“Not really,” I mumbled back.

“Oh, then what was it?” Mrs. Folley asked.

“I'd rather not that about it,” I replied.

I know that she had good intentions, and that she didn't know that it was a sore subject for me, but I really didn't want to answer her.

“That's fine, dear. I hope everything's okay,” she gave me a sweet smile.

My first hour class set the tone for the rest of my day. In all my other classes, people were whispering about me or staring at me, as if I was from a different planet. In such a small school, people have to know where you were, just to have something to talk about. And if you don't say anything, they make something up, and it spreads like wild fire. So, I endured the whispering and focused on my schoolwork. For the most part, people left me alone. They didn't talk to me, only about me, unless I knew the person, which then I received a welcome back, then got back to normal conversation.

It wasn't until my fifth hour class that I had to tell someone why I was gone. Mrs. Crawford, my psychology teacher, pulled me aside after class to check in with me.

“I'm glad to see that you're back, Jess,” she said to me, sitting down in the desk next to mine.

“I'm kind of glad to be back,” I joked.

“That's good, dear. I'm sure it will feel weird to be back, since you were gone for so long,” she smiled at me. “Anyway, I just wanted to talk to you about why you were gone. I've heard plenty of things about your absence, but I figure I should go right to the person involved to set the record straight.”

She was talking about the rumor of me and Louis running away to have a baby together.

“If that's okay with you, of course,” she added when I hesitated to reply.

“No, it's okay, I guess. My little brother was diagnosed with leukemia,” I told her.

“Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope everything starts to get better for you.”

“Thank you Mrs. Crawford,” I gave her a half-hearted smile.

Then I picked up my belongings and left. I practically ran to my car, not being able to handle being in that building anymore. It felt like the walls were shrinking around me. It felt like everybody I passed was staring at me. It felt like I was going to disintegrate under the pressure. I needed to leave. I needed to be next to Louis. I needed the reassurance that everything was going to be okay.

When I got to his house, I ran through his front door and straight to his room. He looked startled as I threw open the door, flew over to the bed, and launched myself into his arms. His arms were around me in an instant, holding me close to his warm body, cradling me. His fingers brushed through my hair in the most comforting way.

“What's up, Jess?” He asked quietly.

“I don't know. I just couldn't stay at that suffocating school anymore,” I sighed, closing my eyes. “I hate going to school without you.”

“I do make everything better, don't I?” Louis said jokingly.

“You're such an idiot,” I giggled, looking up to him.

He poked me on the nose, I poked him back, then we were kissing. A sweet, gentle kiss.

“Shouldn't you get back to class?” He asked after a while.

“I still have, like, ten minutes,” I ran my fingers across his jawline. “How are you feeling?”

“Better. I threw up a while ago, so my stomach doesn't hurt as bad.”

“Please tell me you've brushed your teeth since then, so I wasn't kissing your barf mouth.”

“You're safe,” he laughed.

“Good,” I rested my head back on his chest.

“I like you,” he said to me.

I closed my eyes with a smile. “I like you, too.”

“Can I lay here with you for the rest of my life?” He asked quietly.

“I'd be okay with that,” I replied.

We laid like that for the rest of my lunchtime, then I had to go back to school and solider through the rest of my day.

I met Jenna at her locker once I got back, since we had our next hour class together.

“Are you okay? You weren't at lunch,” she asked me as I approached her.

“Sorry. I went to go see Louis.”

“What's up with the two of you, by the way? I thought things were awkward between you two,” she shut her locker.

“Long story short, he came over to my house last night, we kissed, and now I'm his girlfriend,” I smiled.

“That's not what I expecting to happen,” she laughed. “But your apology went well?

“I haven't gotten a chance to really apologize yet. Everything kind of happened all at once, so I haven't really thought about it.”

“Just remember what I told you: plan a day of his favorite things. Spend the whole day together, being all lovey dovey, doing something that will mean a lot to him. We don't have school on Thursday, so you could do it then.”

“Can I have your brain?” I asked as we walked into our Chemistry classroom. “You're so smart.”

“Jess! You're back!” Kyle, a boy in my class, said loudly, turning towards me as I sat down in my desk.

“Yeah,” I nodded.

“Do you want to know what I heard?” He took a seat on top of the desk in front of me. “That you and Louis ran away together but got caught by the police. Is that true?”

“No, of course not,” I scoffed.

My heart pounded in my chest. He was going to ask me what happened. He was going to do it in front of everyone, knowing fully well that the whole classroom was know listening to our conversation.

“Where were you then?”

“Is that any of your business, Kyle?” Jenna asked, saving me.

“Is this your conversation, Jenna?” He shot back.

“It is when you're attacking my best friend,” Jenna responded.

“Are you going to answer the question, Jess?” He ignored Jenna, and Ms. Brey, our teacher, as she walked into the classroom.

“Kyle, your butt belong in the chair, not on top of the desk. Sit properly or stand,” she commanded “Now, what were you asking Ms. Benson?”

“I was asking her where she's been,” Kyle said, giving Jenna smug grin.

I felt like I was going to throw up.

“Ah, yes. The monumental return of Jess. I'm sure we all would love to know what fun things you've been doing,” Ms. Brey turned to me.

“Well, my little brother was diagnosed with leukemia, but I wouldn't call that 'fun'. So, thank you, Kyle, for bringing attention to the fact that I have missed school because I was dealing with the fact that my ten year old brother has cancer is going to die,” I said in one breath.

At that point, I was beyond angry, so I didn't car if I was rue. I hated Kyle for bringing the whole situation up. I hated Ms. Brey for making say that. I hated the whole class for being there when it happened.

After I said that, no one dared to make a sound. No one talked, no one moved. Ms. Brey cleared her throat after a while and started teaching. I pulled up the hood of my sweatshirt and laid my head on my desk. I stayed that way for the est of class.

Once the bell rang, Ms. Brey held me back to apologize. She said that she felt awful for making me share that and that she would be praying for my family. I just nodded, said it was okay, and left. I took in a breath, then stopped when I saw Kyle waiting for me outside the door.

“What?” I asked sharply, making him flinch.

“I wanted to say sorry. I didn't know. I feel really bad,” he said to me.

“You should,” I walked away from him.

I had pretty much checked out after what happened in Chemistry, so my last two classes went by relatively quick. I felt like a zombie, like my brain was switched into automatic. All I could get myself to think about was Louis, so I planned what we would do on Thursday. And by the time the day was over, I had Thursday planned out to the second.

“Hey,” I said to Jenna as I approached her locker, once the final bell had rang. “I know what I'm going to do with Louis on Thursday.”

“That's awesome. Whatever it is, I know that he's going to love it,” she smiled at me. “Are you coming to Panera with everyone?”

“Sure, but I think I will just get something to go,” I said.

“Got to get back to your boyfriend?” Jenna wiggled her eyebrows at me.

I laughed, not denying her statement, because we both knew it was true.

When we got to Panera, I ordered a container of chicken noodle soup with some bread. Then, Jenna and I went to sit down with the rest of our group. We sat down and talked, but I couldn't get myself to participate. I had a long day, and laying with Louis seemed like the perfect way to end it.

“Jess? Are you okay?” Abigail asked, knocking me from my thoughts. “You seem a little out of it.”

“Yeah, I'm fine. I just had a long day,” I said back, offering my friends a small smile.

“Is it because Louis wasn't there?” Bentley smirked at me.

“I'm not going to answer that,” I laughed.

“Aw! Look at her. She's blushing,” Bentley leaned over the table to pinch my cheeks.

“Get your grubby hand off me,” I swatted his hands away from my face, smiling.

“I think you and Louis are really cute together,” Hannah said to me.

“Yeah, I knew, from the moment you introduced us, that you would end up together,” Abigail added.

“Wait, they're dating?” Garret looked at everyone.

“Yes, you idiot,” Jess said.

“Yes! Garret, you owe me $50!” Bentley exclaimed, dancing around in his seat.

“Wait. You guys made a bet on whether or not I would end up dating Louis? I asked, laughing as Garret handed Bentley $50.

“Yep, and I just won,” Bentley smiled, fanning himself with the money.

“You guys will make a bet on anything,” Hannah shook her eyes, smiling as he boyfriend pretended to cry on her shoulder.

Then, an employee called out that my order was done.

“Sorry I can't stay longer, guys. I have a sick boyfriend to take care of,” I said, waving goodbye to my friends.

I grabbed the food from the counter, waved to my friends on last time, then made my way back to Louis' house.

“Louis! I'm back and I really, really hate people!” I called out. “And I brought you some soup!”

“Bring it here!” He yelled back.

I laughed, grabbing two bowls and two spoons from his kitchen, and ran upstairs.

“You know exactly how to make me happy,” he said, sitting up and leading against the headboard of his bed.

“I'm smart like that,” I replied.

I climbed into the bed next to him, snuggling under to covers to get warm. I handed him a bowl and a spoon, pouring some of the soup into the bowl. I did the same with mine.

“If you bring me Panera every time I'm sick, then I'm going to have to marry you,” Louis said.

“And what am I getting out of this deal?”

“An awesome, sexy husband,” he slurped a noodle.

“Yeah, an awesome, sexy husband who can't eat soup quietly,” I laughed.

“So, you admit that I'm awesome and sexy?” Louis smiled at me.

“Whatever you say,” I finished my soup, leaning over Louis to put my bowl on his bedside table.

“I changed my mind. I don't want to marry you. I want to marry this soup. It was so good,” he said loudly, placing his bowl next to mine.

“Do you want anymore?” I asked him.

“I'm good,” he laid his head on my shoulder. “Thank you for bringing me soup.”

“No problem, Louis.”

“So, tell me. Why do you hate people?” He took my hand into his and played with my fingers.

“You know Kyle? From Chemistry?” I asked. Louis nodded. “Well, he made a big deal about me being back in school and wouldn't stop asking me where I was. Then, Ms. Brey came into the room and wanted to know where I was, too. So, I had to tell everyone what had happened. It wasn't fun.”

“I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, Jess.”

I looked over at him and smiled. “Please kiss me.”


We kissed for a second, until Louis yawned, causing me to laugh.

“Are you bored of kissing me?” I laughed.

“Of course not,” he leaned in, but stopped because he had to yawn. “Darn you, yawns. All I want to do is kiss my girlfriend.” He pouted.

“Would you like to watch a movie instead?” I giggled.

“Sure. Will you lay with me?” He asked.

I smiled at how sweet he looked, huddled under the covers.

“Of course,” I replied, sliding down in the bed so I was next to Louis.

Once I was next to him, he pulled me close to his chest. I laid my head on his pillow, face to face with a tired Louis. He smiled at me, kissing the tip of my nose, before closing his eyes. As I watched Louis fall asleep, I thought about how incredible it felt to be in his arms. It was warm and comforting, like his embrace is the cure for any problem I will ever have. I find myself always craving his hugs, always craving him. He makes me feel lighter, like my problems float away when I'm with him. I don't know where I would be without him. I'm more than grateful to have met him, more than grateful that we got on so well, more than grateful to be his girlfriend.


a/n: 4,000+ words wow that took foreverrr

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