A/N: This is my first attempt at a Hollyoaks fic, and like most of mine it's femslash. If that's not your thing then hit the exit bottom. Otherwise, let me know what you think!
I didn't realise until I saw her lying there. It just hit me, watching Zak try to shake her awake and seeing the pills over the floor, what would happen to me if she died. I'd been petty over the last week or so but I'd felt betrayed. I mean, she'd been talking about me behind my back, what was I supposed to be? I was angry with her and hurt because I… Her opinion mattered to me. More than Kris or Zak or anyone else I knew. Because that's how it is when you…
I had to force it out in the end: that's how it is when you love somebody.
She didn't want to see anyone at the hospital apart from Zak. I don't suppose I can blame her. I've been a complete cow to her lately. But I wanted to see her, I wanted her to know how sorry I was. It killed me having to go home with Will and Kris, with Will apparently blaming himself and Kris calling her selfish. I knew deep down where he was coming from but I was still annoyed with him. If Zoe had thought it through perhaps I could be angry with her, but she was drunk and isolated because we'd been sniping at her all week. It wasn't her fault, it was ours. No, it was mine.
There was no point trying to concentrate on anything. The radio was just irritating me and every time I went into my room I couldn't settle. I knew I was driving Kris crazy; he kept looking up at me as though I was interrupting his vital appointment with the television. I couldn't stand it there anymore. I got my jacket and left.
I didn't realise where I was going until I arrived in the hospital grounds. Part of me wanted to turn back but then I saw Zak leave and I realised she was in there all alone. No one should have to deal with that. Gathering myself, I went inside and located her.
Her crying was audible even before I rounded the corner onto her ward. It made my own eyes well up a little, so much so that I thought I couldn't go in. It'd be unjust of me to waltz in crying when she was the one who'd… So I gave it a minute and straightened my own face out before I went in.
She was curled up on the bed, still crying, though silently now. I didn't say anything- I didn't know what to say- so instead I just sat down and took her hand, running my thumb gently over the back in what I hoped to be a soothing manner. Slowly, she looked at me and when we made eye contact the tears started falling thick and fast again. The only thing I could do was pull her close and hug her, all too aware that I was now crying properly myself.
'Jess, I didn't… I can't…'
'It doesn't matter. You're okay, that's all that counts.'
She pulled back. 'You're not listening to me!'
'Zoe, calm down,' I said, allowing her to shuffle backwards while I wiped my eyes. 'Please. I just…'
'You really think I'm that stupid? Why would I do it?'
'Well, you haven't exactly been happy lately, have you? And I know that was partly down to me…'
She snorted. 'I'm not an idiotic. Why won't anyone believe me?'
'Zak doesn't?' I asked quietly.
'No, he thinks I'm going crazy. You know, maybe I am, because I can't remember anything.'
'What, nothing? Not taking them or…'
'Nothing,' she replied, blinking away some more tears and looking at me. 'You have to believe me.'
I wanted to. I really did. Knowing that she didn't try to kill herself was certainly better for my conscience but what about the facts? Pills found in her hand and all over the floor, it was too much of a coincidence wasn't it? 'Zo, I…'
Her eyes filled up again. 'I'm not suicidal! Look at me, Jess, and tell me I am.'
The truth was, I couldn't. She'd never struck me as the kind of person who'd take the easy way out, that was for wimps like Will. Somehow I could definitely see him committing suicide if things went wrong, but not Zoe. She was stronger than that, and she cared about the people she'd leave behind, whatever Kris might think. 'Okay,' I said finally. 'I believe you. But I don't know what that means.'
Maybe it was the shock of someone listening to her but she was back in my arms and I smoothing down her hair whilst her cool tears dripped onto my arm. Screwing my eyes tightly closed I tried to prevent myself crying again too. I just about managed it when I felt her move and felt soft breath on my cheek. As she kissed it I had the feeling I'd gone a deep shade of pink and pulled away only to receive a confused look for my trouble. 'Jess, what is it? What's wrong?'
I moved as far back as the chair would allow me. 'Look, what do you remember about yesterday?'
She held my gaze for a moment before answering. 'Um… I think I can remember Kris in the bar having a go, saying I was drunk. I think I said I'd only had one.'
'And had you?'
'I was waiting for Zak, I'd only just got there.'
I frowned. 'Alright. What else?'
'Zak helped me to bed. I remember that but that's it.'
'He found you as well,' I murmured, connecting some dots in my mind but not vocalising them. 'It's lucky he did,' I added after a second. 'I don't know what I'd do if I lost you, Zo. And I'm so sorry about this week. I took everything out of proportion.'
'You believed Will over me.'
'And I shouldn't have,' I conceded. 'But he was just so convincing. Maybe part of me wanted to believe him.'
'Why?' she questioned. 'Why would you want someone to slag you off behind your back?'
Because it stopped you thinking you were in love with them? 'I don't know. I'm talking rubbish.'
'No surprise there then,' she said, glancing up at me carefully.
I laughed and slapped her arm gently. 'Carry on like that and I'll…' Not knowing what I'd actually do, I trailed off. 'I'd better…'
She nodded. 'Yep.'
'Are you okay? I mean, I'll stay if…'
'I could do with some sleep anyway.'
'I'll come see you tomorrow, alright?'
'Yeah, I'll hold you to that.'
Then I stood and leaned down to hug her. As my arms wrapped around her back I felt a nice jolt in my stomach, something only enhanced when I found my head was buried in her hair. Quickly, I pulled away. 'See you.'
When I got home the first thing I did was disappear into my bedroom, so to avoid questions from Kris and Zak about where I'd been. Then I sat on my bed and thought things out.
I'd told Zo I believed her because looking at her in that moment I couldn't honestly believe that she'd try to kill herself. I still believed it but now I had to wonder, if she didn't take those pills, how did they get into her system? Well, I suppose her drink could've been spiked at the bar or something; that would definitely explain why Kris thought she was drunk when she wasn't but what about the pills in her room? Maybe if she was feeling the after-effects of being spiked she might've tried to cure herself of it and accidentally taken too much? That was a logical explanation. But somehow it niggled me.
For starters, the pills were in her hand. Her hand. It seemed almost like a set-up, as if someone was trying to point to the fact she'd tried to kill herself. But that was a stupid idea. I mean, who'd have reason to do that? It'd have to be one of the boys in the flat- Kris, Zak or Will. And that idea was ridiculous.
Sighing, I decided to take myself into Zoe's room. I had the feeling she wouldn't mind and, apart from anything, it needed tidying a little bit before I'd be happy with her sleeping in there again. For starters, the vomit had to go.
I closed the door behind me and sat on the edge of the bed, looking around. A couple of weeks ago this room had been completely packed up in preparation for Zoe going to New York. However much the decision had hurt me at the time I was hardly about to stand in the way of her opportunity of a lifetime. I'd have kept in contact with her, that was the most important thing. Will hadn't been so understanding though. In fact, at times he'd seemed almost psychotic about it. Of course, after he accidentally slammed her arm in the taxi door, that was it. She couldn't go even if she wanted to. She couldn't leave him. Strange, then, that a few weeks later he dumps her. After everything, you'd have thought he'd have stuck by her through anything that happened.
Yes, fine, I told myself, but she ripped up his tickets to New York and threw them back in his face. So he'd said anyway. Then again, he'd said that she'd been slagging me off, hadn't he, and I was fairly certain now that wasn't true. I really only had believed him in the first place because I needed to distance myself from Zoe and anything that was going on in my head about her. It was stupid now, and I felt so guilty about it, but at the time it had seemed a sensible thing to believe. Will had made it seem sensible.
Oh, what was I suggesting? That Will had tried to kill her? How ridiculous was that?
Standing, I was about to get a cloth from the kitchen for the floor when the door opening startled me. My arms swung back, knocking various items off the bookshelf including a photo frame. I looked up as Will came in. 'What are you doing in here?'
'I could ask you the same thing,' I replied, bending down to pick up the items, realising that I'd smashed the photo frame. 'Oh, damn!'
'Oi, what are you doing?' he questioned edgily, kneeling beside me and trying to scoop the things away.
'Will!' I snatched the photo frame back with the intention of having to fix it only to find something resting underneath it. A webcam. For a second I just stared at it. Then I glanced up at Will. His bottom lip was quivering. Actually, most of his body was shaking. I grasped the webcam in my hand just as he went for it. Wrenching myself well away from him, I stood. 'What is this?'
'It's nothing,' he said unconvincingly, practically bouncing on his toes. 'You might as well give it to me.'
'If it's nothing I'll keep it,' I countered, mentally assessing how I could get past him. From the look on his face this was his webcam and things were beginning to fall into place. I knew one thing though- I had to get out of there. 'Well, I've got to meet someone so…'
He didn't take the hint. 'Come on, Jess. Just give me it.'
My insides were churning. I didn't exactly fancy my chances in a fight. He was twitching like a dying dog and I knew that if I broke for the door he'd snap. So, instead, I sat down on the bed where a few hours earlier Zoe had been fighting for her life. 'What's going on, Will?'
He closed the door quickly and turned back to me. If I wasn't much mistaken he was sweating. 'I don't know what you mean.'
'How long have you been watching her?' I asked, clenching the webcam in my fist.
'Long enough,' he said, scratching his head. 'Look, what do you want?'
'To keep quiet, what do you want?'
I let out a small laugh. 'You don't seriously think I'm going to lie for you? You tried to kill her, didn't you? How could you?'
'I knew she'd be found! I wasn't trying to kill her!'
'Did you spike her drink?' I questioned. 'Make her look drunk?'
'Yes,' he muttered then his voice raised. 'Yes, yes, yes! I did it, okay? But I only did it because I…'
'Don't you dare even say it,' I warned. 'What you've done is nothing to do with love! It's control, isn't it, Will? You slammed her hand in that door on purpose because you couldn't stand her leaving you! Zak was completely right, wasn't he?'
'Zak doesn't know where his hands should be! Putting her to bed, hugging her!'
'Oh, for… Zak's her mate, that's all! He's looking out for her and is it any wonder? God, look at you! You're pathetic.'
Considering the way his face darkened that might not have been the wisest thing to say. 'Why do you care about her so much, Jess? What is she?'
'What is she?' I repeated. 'And you claim to love her.'
'I do love her!'
'No, you don't!'
I shook my head, not trusting myself to speak.
He leaned against the wall. 'After everything you've said about her in the last week, you've got a nerve. Pretending to care about her.'
'Oh, you've no idea. And when I say I care about someone I don't mean that I've tried to kill them.'
'I wasn't trying to kill her!'
My eyes were focussed on a hefty textbook on Zoe's bedside table. In one sudden movement I grasped it and lobbed it in his direction. It smacked him straight in the face and as he staggered to one side I made a run for the door with the webcam still clutched firmly in my hand. I had my fingers almost to the handle when he regained his balance and threw me against the wall. I let out a scream when his arm pressed against my throat. 'Please, Will, just let me go!'
'No, no, you're going to tell them aren't you? You're going to…'
'Jess! Jess! Are you in there?' I'd never been so happy to hear Kris' voice. He was banging against the door but in the confusion Will had reached over and locked it. Now he was holding me against the wall and pressing the breath out of me.
'Kris!' I managed to wheeze before my head started spinning. Will was in complete control but I still somehow managed to raise my leg upwards and knee him sharply. He tripped backwards and I got to the door and unlocked it. Kris pushed his way in, Zak following.
'What's going on?' Kris asked, looking at Will writhing on the floor. 'Jess?'
I thrust the webcam into his hands. 'I found this. He's been spying on Zoe for ages. He admitted he spiked her drink and he slammed her hand in that taxi on purpose!'
Zak moved forward. 'He what?'
'She's lying!' Will tried. 'She's been to see Zoe, she filled her head with all kinds of rubbish!'
Still rubbing my throat, I said, 'Check his computer! I'm not lying, I'm not…'
'Okay, okay,' Kris said quickly, which was fortunate because I was about to burst into tears again. 'I'll go.'
As he disappeared, Will managed to pull himself onto the bed. 'You want her for yourself don't you?'
For a moment I thought he was talking to me. Until Zak replied, 'Me and Zoe are friends, that's all. Reckoned she needed someone looking out for her. Was spot on by the look of it.'
'Right,' Kris said, coming back in with the laptop. 'Let's have a look.'
Will suddenly lurched towards him, Zak stepped in to throw him back down. 'Don't even think about it.'
A couple of seconds later, Kris murmured, 'I don't believe it.'
'Look, I can explain,' Will said quickly, his hands still cupped around his injuries. 'I mean, you're taking it right out of context.'
'Context?' Kris repeated with a snort. 'You've been recording her every move.'
'Call the police,' I muttered. 'Please.'
I went back to the hospital the second the police left. Zak wanted to come with me but I gently rebuffed the idea. I wanted to see her alone.
She was sleeping when I got there. Instead of waking her, I just placed my hand over hers and waited. When she finally stirred and saw me there she actually smiled. 'I thought you'd gone home.'
'I came back,' I answered, tensing slightly as her fingers entwined with mine. 'There's something you need to know.'
'What?' she asked anxiously, sitting up straighter. 'Jess, what is it?'
'Okay.' I took a deep breath and looked at her. 'I found a webcam in your bedroom.'
'Yeah, I… Well, it was behind a photo frame. Zo, it was Will. He's been… It looks like he's been watching you for a while.'
She frowned, gripping my hand tightly. 'He's what?'
'Look, I don't know why, I wish I could make sense of it, but he's been arrested for it. After I…'
'What?' Zoe prompted, squeezing my hand to the point of breaking.
'I gave him a farewell present,' I answered with a shrug. 'Listen, he admitted everything. Spiking your drink, slamming your hand in the door on purpose. He made me feel like a right cow. The way I've been treating you…'
'Forget it,' she said quickly.
'If it was that sim…'
'Jess, it really wasn't your fault. Will's just… I don't know what he is. I think creepy's the word.'
Despite myself, I smiled. 'Think you might be onto something there. Zak and Kris send their love.'
'They didn't want to come?'
'Oh, no, they did,' I answered. 'But I wanted some time alone with you.'
'Right. I should feel honoured, I suppose.'
'Well, you can when you get home. Because we'll be waiting on you hand and foot for as long as you see fit.'
'Ooh, can I get Kris in a maid's outfit?'
'I think he'd jump at the chance.'
She smiled then seemed to see something. Lifting her hand up to my neck she touched the tender spot where Will had grabbed me an hour or so before. 'What happened?'
I shrugged. 'Will.'
Immediately, she looked guilty. 'Oh, I'm…'
'It's fine,' I brushed her off. 'It's happens.'
'Yeah, because most normal people get their friends hurt.'
'Hey, you didn't get me hurt. No one asked me to confront him, I did it because…'
I'd hoped she'd let it go but she didn't seem inclined to. 'Because what?'
Her fingers were still lightly tingling my neck and it took quite a degree of willpower to remove them. 'Sorry.'
There was frustration in her eyes. 'Jess, what? Tell me what's going on.'
'I…' Well, the words wouldn't come. I wasn't actually sure there were words for such occasions. So what to do? I looked down at her, expectantly gazing at me, and I couldn't help it. I reached my hand over to brush her hair back behind her ears then ran it down her neck as I leaned forward and pressed my lips against hers.
The kiss lasted twenty seconds or so until she pulled back. 'What was that?' she asked, her voice quivering.
I made to stand. 'I'm sorry. I was out of order.'
As I tried to move she grasped my hand. 'Wait, don't go.'
Looking at her was proving to be difficult. 'Zoe, I can't…'
I sat back down but, instead of taking the chair, I perched on the bed where she rested a hand on my knee. 'What do you think you'll do now? Do you want to stay or go home or..?'
'I haven't actually thought beyond the next five minutes,' she admitted with a small smile.
'What's happening in the next five minutes?' I queried aloud.
After a moment her hand slowly lifted up into my hair. 'Do you really need me to tell you?'