Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with "The Famous Jett Jackson."
A storm forces Jett and Kayla to remain locked in the school library for one night. Missing nearly every opportunity for one to discover the other's true feelings, they finally share their first kiss together. But in the excitement of their rescue, Jett forgets a particular item of his clothing in the library bathroom. He also suspects that Kayla is sickened by his natural response to their "throes of passion" and thinks that whatever they had started in the library is now over. Little does he know, Kayla hasn't missed the chance to play a good-natured joke on him, having his boxers in hand and making him agonize over their relationship and his squeaky clean reputation as the town's famous Jett Jackson. Does he decide to get back at her when he learns the truth, once they return to working on their project?
The familiar creak of Jacksons' porch steps met with Kayla's ears as she walked up. Before she pushed the doorbell, she straightened her clothes and put on an expression of "I'm repulsed and you best not lay a hand on me, you perv." Then she realized Jett probably wasn't well enough to answer the door. She felt a twinge of guilt. And it wasn't exactly reassuring that whenever she remembered the other night a surge of giddiness went through her. He liked her. She liked him. They were together.
She pushed the guilt to the back of her mind, determined to accomplish this little mission of hers. Weird how JB had called back to say that their meeting place had changed to Jett's so suddenly. He said he'd found costumes from the set, or something like that. She wondered if it would look right for her to come over when she was supposed to be scared of him. Ah well, anything will do for her to see Jett squirm a couple more times. She nearly giggled but stopped herself as the door opened.
"Hello, Kayla. Come on in. Jett should be up in his room. Hopefully, he's up. He's been sleepwalking you know. And talking in his sleep." She slipped through as Miz Coretta stepped aside. "I just can't understand how he got so sick."
Sheepishly, Kayla was just about to climb up the stairs when Miz Coretta called out. "Oh, wait, hon. Could you please bring up this pitcher? And tell him to finish it or else." The glass pitcher was brimming to the rim with steam floating up. Kayla tried not to wrinkle her nose at the sour aroma coming from it and carefully went up to Jett's room.
Since she couldn't knock, she said loudly by his doorway. "Jett, open up!"
She walked in slowly. Glancing up, she saw the look of dread in his eyes as he took in the fresh batch of tea. "Miz Coretta said you had to drink all of this."
She set the pitcher on the nightstand. "What is it anyway?"
"I'm not sure. Some tea stuff she makes from scratch. She says it cured my dad's mono when he was a kid."
They locked into a gaze. Kayla noted the bags under his eyes, the phlegm in his voice as he spoke. He really was sick. And now hidden under a large bandage was the cut on his forehead. The one he got because of me…
"What's wrong?" There was that look of apprehension again, her brow furrowed. Dang, she's cute when she's worried. And about me, I guess… Automatically, he wanted to reassure her that despite his 102-degree fever and chest pains and sore throat, he was fine.
"Huh? Uh, nothing."
Jett got a hold of himself. She could not have the upper hand in this. No, she would get what she deserved. "So…JB should be coming later. He called awhile ago, said his dad's making him stay to close the store. So we'll have to wait…"
Kayla's eyebrows raised. And the two of them would be alone again. Perfect. "All right. I'll show you what I think we could do for the presentation then."
As she opened her backpack, he tried to get a peek inside. No sign of his unmentionables. When she turned back around, he gave her his utmost attention. She seemed detached as she showed him her sketches, and every time he tried to scootch in for a closer look, she immediately moved away. He'd look in her eyes and she would hastily turn her cheek. If he didn't know better, it really looked like she wanted to be anywhere but in his room. Hmm…maybe the famous Jett Jackson should take some acting lessons from the sneaky Kayla West… He had to admire her pluck.
Now it was his turn.
"Umm, Kay…Can I say something?"
"First, let me say that I'm really glad you're here."
Coldly, she didn't respond.
He continued. "It's about the other night, at the library. I'm REALLY—"
"Look, I don't wanna talk about it. Maybe I should leave. I thought we were just going to work on the project." She got up from the desk.
Nice try. He decided to take her bait. "No, wait! Just stay please—"
He bolted of the seat and grabbed her arm. At the same time, he feigned a rush to the head. He crumbled to the floor, taking her with him. He stifled his smirk as she gasped. "Omigosh Jett!"
"Whoa." Holding onto her, he blinked his eyes and steadied himself. "Guess I'm weak…still tired."
She stared at him sitting all helpless on the carpet, and whispered without thinking. "Ohhh Jett…I'm sorry."
"Sorry? Sorry for what?"
She froze. Oops. "Umm, I'm sorry…sorry that I forgot to show you these other sketches. Here, lemme get them."
He loosened his grasp and watched her return to her backpack. Getting up slowly, as if he was recovering from the fall, he reached his bed and settled under the covers. He coughed loudly. "You know what, Kay, maybe you should go. I think I need some more rest. Besides, you'll end up catching my cold. I'll call JB and tell him not to bother coming."
Suddenly, she swiveled to face him. Shoot. He's not supposed to make me leave. "No no. Uhh…it's best for us to get some work done. We've only got a couple days to finish this."
"Yeah, it's fine. Now these pictures for the…" Walking over, she sat next to him on the bed and went on sharing her ideas. Meanwhile, Jett pondered over his own.
About five minutes later, she looked up from her papers, done talking about costumes, props, and audience participation. Unfortunately, it seemed Jett had either lost interest or his cold had taken over. In either case, he had dozed off, his snores muffled as the comforter was pulled over his chin.
She watched him. Lining the large bandage across his forehead were small beads of sweat, probably from the high fever. How could she had made him gone back out to the snow, to stay there for hours, all so that she could have a little laugh. The realization made her feel a bit sick to the stomach herself.
Just as she decided to get up and find something to wipe his damp brow, Jett stirred. He kicked his legs feebly, and mumbled something. Kayla frowned when she thought she heard her name. Reaching out hesitantly, she pulled the blanket down. His grumbles came out.
"I didn't mean to…honest…believe me, Kay….don't wanna be without you." The last few words warmed her inside and out. "I need you."
It was hard to keep from smiling. Come on, the guy of your dreams pouring out his heart and you there to hear it all. Too bad he was delirious, but if that's what it took... She waited for him to utter more, leaning closer to discern his low murmers.
"Don't go…not after I waited…did you know? I waited Kay…for you…don't…" He turned in his sleep, moving restlessly. Involuntarily, she held out her fingers and searched for his hand. At her touch he calmed down. His speech lowered and it looked like he was peaceful for a moment. But it was interrupted by brief bursts about a giant of some sort. It was chasing him and he cried out in short gasps. Kay could only sit and watch, feeling more and more horrible every passing minute.
"Hi Kay…you're back."
Startled, she glanced up. He was still asleep, his eyes closed. His tone was soft again, like it had been when he started talking in his sleep. Dreaming. He must be dreaming about her again. A small smile formed on his face. She felt his fingers tighten slightly over hers, before he stopped mumbling and his head slid down the pillow. Light snores emitted from his mouth then.
She would have been relieved that he was relaxed and calm again. If only his hand hadn't slipped at the same time his head had. In his anxiety she had taken his hand onto her lap, patting it gently. It worked in easing him but maybe he was a little too relaxed now. She found his hand presently slipped from her grip and resting comfortably on the inside of her thigh.
She stiffened, feeling a warm blush blazing across her cheeks. Lucky for him, he was feverish and hallucinating and wasn't susceptible to a hard slap to the face. He needed his rest. Maybe she could slide off the bed without disturbing him…
The darkness was killing him. How he so wanted to open his eyes right then and see the look on her face. But it would blow his cover. He had to pretend he was passed out cold. For the time being, he could only imagine underneath his closed eyes how uncomfortable she felt. He feared that if he laughed right then he'd get smacked.
He was aware of where his hand was, lying heavily and motionless on her thigh. Earlier he only planned to make her feel guilty. That he felt he accomplished. But maybe he could play this out a little further.
The bed shifted. It felt as if she was trying to get off the mattress. He waited, curious. As she did so, the slant of her leg actually made his hand slide more up, without his doing. At her sharp gasp, he could only guess how far his hand had traveled. He mentally snickered at the image. But his palm moistened uncontrollably, and he tried with all his might not to twitch in nervousness.
Almost reluctantly, he decided she had suffered enough. A sudden fit of coughs hit him. Kayla was freed of his wandering hand as he coughed loudly in his "sleep." The throbbing pain in his chest lingered after he sputtered the last cough, and he frowned. Another nightmare, it is.
After a minute, he tossed on the bed. He could still feel the weight of her body on the mattress, now at the far end by his feet. He took note of that as he began mumbling once again.
"No…no more! It stinks! …I don't want anymore Nana." He proceeded to sit up against the hardboard and bring out his arms. They found their way to the pitcher on the nightstand and picked it up. He said insistently, "See? I finished it."
With that, he tipped the full pitcher upside down. The target was hit as she squealed, the contents spilling onto her. Her shriek was cut short as if she covered her mouth. Satisfied, Jett muttered. "Told you. It's empty." He dropped the container next to his side and fell back to a quiet sleep.
Miz Coretta looked up from her embroidery at the sound of the doorbell. Standing at the door was Kayla's mother, who she recognized over the rim of her glasses.
"My goodness, get in. It's freezing out there!"
"Thank you, Miz Coretta," Mrs. West responded as she entered. "I'm sorry to come so unexpectedly."
"Oh hush. Don't even bother apologizing. You're welcome any time."
The younger woman smiled gratefully. "I was getting back from town, and remembered Kayla was here. I just had to stop by and show the kids what I found. It will be perfect for their presentation." From under her arm she pulled out a bundle and unraveled it, the material held out in front of her. An authentic, light coral flapper dress hung limp, the edges of the skirt swaying to and fro.
Miz Coretta admired the dress and motioned toward the staircase. "Kayla will look lovely in it. Let's go up and have her try it on."
Kayla leapt onto her feet and took in her soaked shirt, stunned. It clung to her skin tight, and she groaned as she saw the tea dripping off her and onto the bedroom floor. She shivered. Dismayed, she realized she'd better change before she considered cleaning up the mess.
Jett pretended to awaken at the commotion. He blinked and was genuinely surprised to see Mrs. West at the doorway with his great-grandmother. Before he could say anything though, Miz Coretta instructed him harshly. "Shut your eyes, young man!"
Instinctively, he followed where Mrs. West's shock was directed. The quick peek he got of a shirtless Kayla was just enough to cause the abrupt quickening of his heartbeat, before she covered herself. The only defense she made was a distressed squeak, her face reddening even more.
JB stood behind the counter, waiting for the little hand in the clock to land on the twelve. Only a few more minutes til he could close the store. Since he had told Kayla that his dad expected him to close the store, the least he could do was live up to his word.
The bell jingled and JB strained his neck. Looking for the customer, he called out, "I'm sorry but we're just about to close. I'll be happy to take down an order for you…"
His eyes landed on Riley, who walked in with that confident stride of hers. He gulped, getting the usual uneasiness when he was in her presence. But he disguised it with his typical banter.
"Well, hey Riley. It's a Saturday night. Shouldn't you be out having fun or calling up one of your old Hollywood buddies?"
She chuckled as she folded her arms over the counter. "Now why would I be doing that when the finest company I could ever find in Wilsted is in this here spot?"
Flattered, JB hoped turning business-like would hide his bashfulness. "I think you mean the closest convenience store can be found in this here spot. What can I do you for?"
She ticked the list off her fingers, which were nicely manicured. "Baking soda, food dye, and vinegar. My group's talking about the atomic bomb that ended World War II. Mrs. Eleanor* won't know what's hittin' her."
JB gestured for her to follow him. "We got a shipment of baking stuff that Dad hasn't put out yet. Should be down in the cellar."
The two went through the stockroom, the corner of which had a door that led into the cellar. They descended down the stairs and into the dark. JB switched on the lone lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. While he started with some chatter he hoped was outrageously witty, he didn't notice the door swing shut above them. The latch let out a tiny click as it snapped, locking the two from outside.
*Previously put in Mr. Dupree. Thank u, gracie, for remembering his name! :D If they've already had a history teacher on the show, can we just play along for now and say s/he was a woman and her name is Mrs. Eleanor? It was from the top of my head.
Well, that's the conclusion of the story. Hope you guys enjoyed that, and the next "opportunity" for me to write another one will be sometime soon. Sequel maybe? Just might have something on the works… Thanks again for the comments, you sweet reviewers! :O)