"So, you and Jihoon. How long have you been friends?" Ren asked a third time when Jessica derailed, once again, from the story she was trying to tell.
"Right, uhm. I think we met as toddlers or something. He used to live in my neighbourhood, but then his father got a way better job, so he moved away to a gated community." She said as she pulled her skirt down. She always felt awkward wearing a skirt while sitting down. One moment it's too long, or she looks fat in it, or she's afraid everyone can look under it, or she feels forced to sit a certain way. She likes wearing them, but sometimes she feels self-conscious in them.
"You okay?" Ren asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
"Well, you keep pulling your skirt. Especially when I look at you." Jessica bit a lip after what he said. She didn't want to appear insecure in front of him. "Are you self-conscious? It's fine if you are, but just wondering."
"Maybe a little." She muttered softly. She looked down at her cup. Ren was surprised by himself when he felt a little sorry for her.
"So, are you going to the Christmas gala tomorrow?" Ren quickly changed the subject.
"Wasn't planning on it. I don't like fancy parties."
"They're fun if you're with the right person." Ren smirked. Jessica blushed and looked away.
"I don't have a dress anyway." She muttered.
"I can give you one. My sister-in-law has some she never wears anymore."
"I-I don't know."
"Come on. It'll be fun. Me and my friends will be there, so it's definitely going to be fun." He smiled at her. She pursed her lips for a moment. "Well? I can also get you a ride to and from."
"Fine. But, only if you dance with me at least once." She smiled while fiddling with the hem of her school jacket. "I know it's silly, but I've always wanted to slow dance with someone." Ren smirked at her confession.
"I'll make sure you to get you a dress then, to match mine." Jessica smiled and looked down. "Come on, I'll drive you home." Ren stood up and walked towards the doors as Jessica brought their cups to the bar. She followed Ren out and smiled at him when he held the door for her.
"Thank you for driving me." She said when they arrived at her front door.
"You're very welcome, milady. I'll see you tomorrow night." He gave her a quick hug before giving her, her bag back and returned to his car. She waved as he drove away before entering her home.
Saturday, December 22nd
"My baby sister going to her first school party! Can't wait!" Jessica's sister, Alice, exclaimed as she applied the mascara.
"Yeah, yeah, are you done? The eyeliner was annoying enough." Jessica whined.
"That's because this is the first time you ever wore it. Thankfully, baby sis, you have an amazing older sister that can make cheap house brand make up, look like the expensive ."
"Alice!" Jessica snapped at her as she nodded her head to her younger sister playing nearby.
"Relax, it's not like mom never used those words around us at that age."
"Cause we turned out so wonderful. We both were suspended in elementary for cussing at the teacher."
"So? We'll make it a family tradition." Jessica glared at her sister's joke.
"Done! How does she look, Jamie?" Alice turned to their younger sister.
"Pretty!" She yelled and jumped happily into the air.
"So when is Mr. Popular gonna bring you your dress? It's almost time for you to leave."
"Maybe I should just not go. This was probably just a prank." Jessica looked down.
"How could you say that? You're great. You know that."
"I'm the one student at the school who didn't pay for her tuition. I had to buy my uniform from a graduate two sizes bigger than me, and had to tailor it myself. Have you any idea how fast stuff like that spreads around a school full of brats and jocks?" Before Alice could interject her rant, the doorbell rang. Before Jessica could get off of the bathroom sink, Alice had already rushed downstairs. She opened the door and was met with one of Ren's faithful friends, Minhyun.
"Holy damn." Alice thought out loud. Minhyun chuckled at her.
"Is Jessica here?" He asked.
"Alice!" Jessica grunted at her when she appeared next to her.
"Jessica. Ren told me to give this to you. And, to drive you to the party." He smiled at the two girls as he held a large white box out for Jessica. Jessica accepted it and invited him in. Jessica brought him to their living room as Alice followed behind after closing the front door.
"Feel free to sit down. I'll put this on quickly so we can go." She smiled awkwardly before rushing upstairs. Minhyun turned around and found Jamie staring him while holding a plush animal.
"Hi there." He kneeled down to her eye level. "My name is Minhyun."
"You're pretty." Jamie muttered and gave him a shy smile. He smiled back at her.
"Thank you. You don't look so bad yourself." Alice smiled at the two interacting. Jessica came back downstairs. The dress Ren gave her was one in a pale blue colour with a petticoat skirt. He had also given her some white glittery heels and some jewellery. The dress was strapless, which caused Jessica to be extremely conscious about her cleavage.
"You look quite... Lovely." Minhyun said, kicking himself mentally for almost giving a bigger compliment.
"I'm a little surprised it all fits so well. I guess his sister in law and I have the same size." Jessica said while Jamie started pulling at the petticoat.
"Guess so." Minhyun said with a smile. He was trying to hold himself back with every fibre in his being, to not take credit for spending most of his Saturday breaking into her gym locker and then finding a dress and shoes in her size.
"Shall we go? Fashionably late is a thing, but not this late." Minhyun said, trying hard not to sound rude.
"Right. Bye guys." Jessica pulled Minhyun out of the house by his wrist before Alice could say anything. Jamie and Alice waved the two goodbye as Minhyun and Jessica drove away.
"No reason to be nervous. You look just as good as all the other girls." Minhyun said when Jessica stopped walking.
"You sure? To be completely honest, my make-up is just cheap stuff."
*Figured.* He thought.
"Barely noticeable." He smiled and extended his hand. She took it hesitantly and he put her hand on his arm before leading her to the party. Conversations turned to gossip about how she looks and others about why she's hanging on to Minhyun's arm. Most of the girls were jealous because she was with Minhyun. Minhyun brought her to Jonghyun before leaving. Jonghyun talked with her for a bit before leaving her too, and she was left alone by the side of the room. Without her realising, two girls were gossiping about her with much harsher words than others. Lizzy and Raina, both wearing shiny, tight-fitted, short dresses, glared across the room at Jessica.
"What the hell is she doing here? She has no reason to be here." Lizzy said as they watched her grab a glass with champagne in in.
"I know right as if there aren't enough girls here that use B products on their face and hand me down dresses from ex-celebs." Raina sneered.
"Wait, didn't that girl bump into Ren? Threw soda all over him in the main hall?"
"Her?! Where did she get that cute dress?"
"Relax, her make up is not even a B brand. How much do you want to bet it's not even waterproof?"
"How about we test it out?" Raina and Lizzy shared an evil giggle as everyone turned to the large doors. Jessica followed everyone’s gaze and found Nana wearing a cute but micro-short dress that hugged her curves perfectly.
*Wow, she looks amazing.* Jessica thought. After her followed Ren and Jessica could just not stop herself from staring. He wore a beautiful suit from the winter/fall collection of 2018 from Alexander McQueen with an orange checkered pattern and shiny black loafers.
*Oof.* Was all that went through Jessica's head as she stared at him. Nana was holding Ren's arm as he smirked while taking glances around the room. He smirked to himself when he found Jessica obviously staring. Lizzy and Raina squealed.
"OMG!! They're like the perfect couple." They almost screamed out. Ren and Nana walked to the centre of the room before the music turned to a slow song. Jessica could actually feel her heart hurting. She had bared with all the girls that she saw him with, knowing they weren't anything special to him. Nothing more than a hook-up. But, Nana? Nana was the most popular, richest girl in the school. She could never top that.
*They really look great together.* Jessica thought as she felt herself growing sad. Lizzy and Raina snickered at her sadness. She wanted to walk out of the room, but Jonghyun and Minhyun stopped her with senseless chitchat. She tried her best not to look sad as she listened to the two argue about what the greatest Jackie Chan stunt is. She heard some girls go on about how jealous they were of Nana and how beautiful she looked. Some guys talked about how hot Nana looked but how little of a chance they have with her. Ever since Ren had his night with her, she hasn't let any other guy get close to her. Not publicly at least. When Ren and Nana finished dancing, they hugged and Nana "accidently" pushed her s tight against his chest so he could feel her. Ren rolled his eyes at her. Ren found Jessica with his friends and nodded back when he saw Jonghyun nod at him. He let go of Nana and lead her outside to the schoolyard. The yard was gorgeously lit up with Christmas lights and a huge, decorated Christmas tree, which was standing on the small hill. Jessica accepted the drink that Jonghyun got for her and brought her closer to the doors that lead outside. She noticed Ren and Nana talk over Jonghyun's shoulder as she faced him. Ren had his hands in his pockets and Nana seemed to look confused as Ren spoke.
"What do you mean by that?" Nana asked.
"I need to spell it out?" Ren scoffed. "I just needed you for one dance. Other than that, I'm not interested in you." Ren chuckled when she frowned.
"I don't like you. I care nothing for your existence whatsoever." He repeated. Nana looked hurt.
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