Jasper is minding her own goddamn business in the weight room. This is one of her only safe places, where nothing matters besides what you’re doing.
(She won’t admit what her other safe place is.)
She’s got music loud in her ears, concentrating on nothing but the weights in front of her, when the song ends, and she hears a familiar name come out of an unfamiliar voice.
“I don’t know, that Peridot seems-”
Her music starts up again, but she can’t finish the exercise fast enough to rip her earbuds out.
She tries to be subtle about listening to the boys on the machine across from her. She’s totally not. But they’re talking about her best friend, and she has a right to listen.
She listens for a while, and her relief is tinged with anger.
They’re not saying anything she has to fight them for- she thinks. They’re talking about how she seems like a nice person, quiet and unassuming most of the time. And how maybe she would be a good prom date.
Jasper has several disagreements- Peri is a bitch, she’s just less vocal about it. She’s not that nice once you get to know her, but luckily Jasper doesn’t care. But the concept of someone else being close to Peridot like that, and taking her out and junk- that makes Jasper furious for reasons she doesn’t want to examine. She puts her earbuds back in and continues her routine.
Peri mentions it at lunch. They’re sitting in their corner, Jasper shoving food in her mouth, Peridot forgetting to continue taking bites while she does something on her phone.
“Oh- this one boy was talking to me in second period, he seemed- weird.”
Jasper looks up quickly.
“Why did he seem weird?”
Peri rubs her neck, other hand fidgeting with her phone.
“I don’t want to assume anything, but like- he kind of seemed like he liked me? I don’t- I don’t know how people act when they like each other.”
Jasper is trying to pretend like she doesn’t care.
The can she's holding crumples.
Jasper leaves early that day, throwing her trash away with more aggression than usual. Normally she walks Peridot to class and fucks around for a while, but she just wants to drown out her thoughts with loud music. Again.
Peridot watches Jasper in fourth period. She is pissed off. She kinda feels sorry for whoever made her this mad, but then again, she doesn’t care.
Peridot just wants to know what’s wrong.
Jasper stays angry- through class, through walking home together, and they finally sit down in her room, where she takes it out on pixels as Peri starts on homework. Her phone buzzes, and she looks at the screen. She laughs in surprise, and Jasper looks over.
“That dude I told you about- he just followed me on Instagram.”
Jasper pauses her game.
Peri speaks quietly to herself, staring at the floor..
“Maybe he does like me…”
Jasper gets up to fuss with something, and stays up. It gets her attention, and she thinks about everything that had happened.
The concept of someone having a crush on her is completely foreign to Peridot.
Apparently, it's foreign to Jasper too.
"Wait- are you mad about this?"
Jasper paces along the wall, and glances at her.
"You don't get it."
Jasper huffs, fingers running through strands of hair stressfully. Peridot watches, sitting on the floor, and sighs, tipping her head back to let it rest on the bed.
“Can you please tell me what’s going on?”
She says something incoherent, mumbling in an angry tone.
“Jasper…If you’re worried about another relationship getting in the way of ours, I wouldn’t let that happen. You know that, right?”
Peridot watches her nod, trying to think of any other problem she could have with the idea of Peridot being in a relationship.
“Don’t be worried about me getting hurt or anything, okay? I can take care of myself and- I have you.”
Jasper shrugs, avoiding her gaze.
“So what’s your problem?”
“It doesn’t matter, Peri.”
“It does to you!”
“Will you just drop it?”
“No! I want to know why you don’t like the idea of me being in a relationship.”
“Maybe I don’t like to share.”
“I already said-”
“I don’t mean it like that!”
“What do you mean?”
Jasper seems to choke on her words, playing with her phone in her hands and staring resolutely anywhere but Peridot.
“Maybe- maybe I want to be the one to ask you out and take you to prom and all that!”
Peridot has learned that when Jasper says maybe, she means absolutely.
Jasper finally, finally looks at her, and her face is so flushed. Peridot absently thinks that she’s redder than she’s ever seen.
She knows her own face is warm, though the color may not show. Peridot doesn’t know what to do. Her reply bursts out of her mouth- she doesn’t mean to say it, but it happens.
“So why haven’t you?”
Jasper’s gaze is heavy on her, but she won’t look away.
She sighs, and Peridot understands.
There’s a myriad of answers to that question, and it’s unfair of her to ask. There is one she can ask, though.
“How long? And- and you know I feel the same.”
The confrontational air has disappeared, and her voice is soft. Jasper laughs, resting her weight against the wall.
“I don’t even know, Peri. Forever?”
Peridot can’t keep the smile off of her face.
“Well, I think that one time we made out was pretty influential-”
“Fuck, you remember that?”
They sit quiet for a moment, just looking at each other. Jasper covers her cheekbones, shoulders shifting.
“What now, Peri?”
They stare at each other, and Jasper remembers just how taken she is with the color of her eyes.
Peridot suddenly wishes they were sitting together, because she doesn’t know how to put her feelings into words.
“Come over here.”
Jasper nods, pushing off the wall. She sits in front of her, their knees touching, and Peridot reaches for her hands. She plays with her fingers, tracing the knuckles and scars and lines of them.
“I’m. I’m trying to figure out what to say, you know?”
Their voices are low, and Jasper can’t shake the feeling that they should be having this conversation at night, whispering to each other after lights out. But they aren’t. The sun is shining through her window, she can hear her parents upstairs, but she still feels so close to Peridot.
Her voice is so quiet.
“I don’t want to mess this up.”
They look at each other.
"I'm serious. I- I really like you and it really scares me for lots of reasons and I know it does for you too, don't lie, but I- I don't know what I'm doing."
Jasper watches Peridot play with her hands, and lets the touches linger, brushing against her skin.
"You don't always have to know what you're doing."
Peridot huffs out a "yes I do" before Jasper laces their fingers together. Her fingers are long and a little spindly between Jasper's calloused ones.
"We don't have to- change anything, if you don't want to."
Peridot is silent until she sighs, and leans forward so that their foreheads touch.
"I do want to."
She breathes out, and Jasper can't stop looking at her face from close up, the details of her eyes.
Jasper can't help herself anymore. She closes the space between them, putting her lips to Peridot's.
She kisses back, and suddenly they're both very grateful for- what was his name again?