It had been a few weeks since Tara left, and things were back to normal for Jett, JB and Kayla – or so the boys thought. But as hard as Kayla tried – and she tried with all the strength she had, which was a lot – she couldn't get rid of that last ounce of burning anger. She knew Jett was her friend and that he cared about her, she knew that she couldn't always get what she wanted, she even knew that it would be okay eventually – so she couldn't quite put her finger on why she felt like she wanted to hurt Jett just to get all her emotions out.
She had always been good at suppressing her feelings, so it wasn't a problem between the three of them at first. She just smiled politely, and even though she knew you could tell that it wasn't a real smile if you looked into her eyes, neither of the boys bothered to look, so she wasn't worried.
Yes, everything was going along quite smoothly. Until she saw that damn poem lying on Jett's desk. She knew from the title what it was – "It wasn't like this yesterday." By Jett Jackson. "No it wasn't like this yesterday, my dreams were kept at bay." The words made her so frustrated that for a moment she considered grabbing the piece of paper and finding somewhere to burn it. Not only because they were about her, but because…
She didn't have time to finish that thought, or take the ratty piece of paper, because Jett walked in. "Sorry, my dad's been on me about mowing the lawn," he said, and misreading Kayla's look, added "I'll do it soon!"
But something in Kayla had just snapped. She'd had enough. She needed to say this, and she needed to say it now. "I don't care." It came out harsher than she intended, but she couldn't stop. "So, still pining over Tara?"
"What?" Jett stood confused before spotting the poem on his desk. " Oh, I didn't know that was there. Miz Coretta must have found that when she was cleaning and…"
Kayla shook her head fervently and cut him off. "It's just so…" she stopped, suddenly unsure what she wanted to say. Finally she decided. "Let me read it to you."
"What? K, I don't…"
"Just this one line, Jett" She spoke his name harshly, over-pronouncing the T sound. It frightened Jett a little how much she sounded like a disapproving mother – or girlfriend. From what he had seen, the two sounded surprisingly alike when angry. "No, it wasn't like this yesterday" she began, her voice dripping with anger, "my dreams were kept at bay." She looked up at Jett and just stared for a long moment, her eyes hard. "Do you hear yourself here, Jett? You're dreams were kept at bay?"
At hearing Kayla's voice rising steadily, Jett decided it was time to try to calm her down. He spoke in the calmest, most sympathetic voice he could muster, "Kayla, what are talking about? What's going on?"
"I don't know, Jett, you tell me. You tell me what's going on. Because all I can see is you being an idiot, pretending you didn't have anyone who cared about you before this goddess walked into your life. I just can't believe that you'd say something like that! In front of JB and me, no less! What were we, just pawns until you found someone who was really worthy? What was I, what am I to you Jett, because before I heard this, I was under the apparently crazy impression that I'd been there for you for three years, I had supported you and I was planning on continuing to do that for a very long time. Am I just delusional, Jett? Did I not really help you at all?"
Kayla had finally lost her cool, calm demeanor. While Jett was used to her sarcasm, and even her tendency to hold things in until she freaked out, he hadn't expected this at all. It was upsetting, it was crazy, but mostly it hurt. He was shocked into silence throughout her speech, but by the end, he was ready to spar with her – but he wasn't angry. He would fight until she couldn't fight anymore, until she got rid of the anger and he could figure out what was really going on. "Kayla!" He started as angrily as he could, and then stopped. That wasn't going to work. She was ready to go at it for hours, he could tell, and he didn't want to wait that long. His expression softened. Hers didn't. "You know you are so much more than that to me, K. You…"
Cut off. Again. "Not going to work, Jett. Words won't help anymore. You're actions have already spoken." She headed for the hall, but Jett moved quickly between her and the doorway. When she stopped, he put his hands on her arms and opened his mouth to speak. But Kayla wasn't done. "Jett," she started, then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she spoke again it was in a calmer, fragile-sounding voice. "I don't mean to be a bitch. I just don't know what to make of it. I've put a lot of energy into it… this. Into us. And for the past few weeks… I've been really confused. Just think about it, okay?"
And with that, she slipped past Jett, down the stairs and out the front door, leaving a too-stunned-to-move Jett staring after her.