This chapter is dedicated to all of my loyal readers of the “I Kissed a Girl” series who have racked up over 580 favorites and 460,000 views at submission time. Especially, to those who have requested Jenna’s story over the years.
I wanted to do her justice, to include what happened before she reconnected with Kat…through their first time together (Chapter 1). Which has resulted in a mini novella of itself. Though it has been a longtime coming, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting into Jenna’s head. I hope you do, too.
Thank you in advance for your patience (9 pages, yikes!) …and for your loyalty.
I’ll let Jenna take you on the journey into her part of the saga…
Some would say I had it all. A nice condo in a sought-after part of the city. Loyal friends. A well-paying job that gave me prestige in the industry despite having an asshole for a boss. What more could I possibly want or need to make my life happy?
That answer was simple: the one that got away.
Over time, the ache inside had dulled. Though I wanted it to, I knew it would never cease completely. There would always remain that sliver of a dream of what could have been.
To make matters worse, I’d never really had her to begin with. She was oblivious to my longing. And it was all my fault.
I’d never even hinted to her that I saw her as more than a classmate, a friend. The latter was barely even that. I don’t know how things would have turned out if I had admitted my true feelings back then. But I’d eventually accepted reality. Stopped wishing for a second chance to share my heart with her.
Maybe that’s why fate finally stepped in.
There, at the bar, stood the most beautiful person I’d ever laid my eyes on. Even with her current drowned-rat appearance, I could tell that the years had been good to her. Very good. And I could only imagine that they had also enhanced all of those qualities that had endeared her to me on that dreary fall day of my senior year. The day that I saw a ray of hope to help me through the rest of the hellhole they called high school.
I had stopped in a dark section of the club on the way back to my table from the restroom. It had taken a long moment to realize what had drawn my attention to the main entrance. In the dimness of the room, I saw Donna talking to a woman…leading her to the bar. Normally, I wouldn’t have paid attention as Maggie’s was a lesbian bar and I wasn’t really looking for a relationship right now. But the person standing opposite our designated greeter for the night wasn’t just any woman.
She was Katrina Jenkins. Kat, as everyone had called her. Kitty Kat, on some occasions, although I remember how her brow would furrow at the sound of it. Which was a shame, because many a times, I had licked my lips at the thought of her purring beneath the ministrations of my fingers—my tongue—while I coaxed her with that pet name.
A shiver ran down my back. I hadn’t had a thought like that in almost four years. About anyone.
Though she was at least thirty feet away, I felt the heat of Kat’s gaze when she glanced around. She paused, and I held my breath… Surely, she couldn’t see me standing here, watching her?
But I still felt her eyes piercing into my soul as time rolled backwards in my head.
TWENTY YEARS EARLIER
The rumors had started the fourth week of my last year of high school. I had transferred in due to my father—The Colonel, as he was known among family and friends—being restationed. Thankfully, our move had been during the summer, so I wasn’t joining mid-year. It was by far not our first move. But this was the first time I wasn’t being homeschooled with my younger sister, Meredith. That I was going off base to get an education. Nathan, our brother who was five years older than me, had gone the military route like our father and had already been out of the household for four years prior to his graduation from college the prior spring. He was now stationed at a naval base in Hawaii. Lucky duck.
It was hard enough adjusting to a regular classroom, much less thinking about having to make new friends. My parents assured me that they’d heard many of my classmates had late birthdays, so I shouldn’t feel too out of place being 18 entering my senior year. My mother thought I deserved the experience of all the rites of passage one got being a senior: homecoming, football games, prom, and graduation. She seemed to have forgotten the one about immature teenagers teasing new students…and joking about adult topics as though they had any clue.
In my specific case, the joke was a play on my last name, Swallow. I first heard it in the place one always learns about what others think of you: from behind a stall door in the girls’ restroom.
Two female classmates gossiped about random topics at the sink, completely unaware of my presence. I’d seen them around the halls, boasting about how more mature they were than others because they’d already turned escort the legal age. Amidst the debate of which varsity football player had the best ass, the topic changed to who was going to ask them to the Homecoming Dance.
“Well, I should be going with Scott Martini,” one of them bemoaned. “The cheerleading captain always goes with the quarterback.”
“Jill, he’ll ask you. Guys like to wait until the last minute.”
Another stall door creaked open then closed loudly.
“Not if he’s going with someone else, Tiffany,” Jill scoffed.
“What do you mean?” Tiffany’s voice echoed over the walls of the enclosed toilets.
“Well…” Jill started, and I could see through the crack between the parts of my door that she had turned and leaned her backside against one of the sinks, her arms crossed. Her mouth dropped with a deep sigh into an open grimace while she stared at the ceiling. “I heard in trig class, he has his eye on the new girl.”
“And I heard he has a big dick.” Tiffany let out a snort. “Doesn’t mean it’s true. Guys like to exaggerate.”
“Oh, that part is true.”
The other toilet flushed before Tiffany asked, “How the hell would you know?”
Jill studied her nails for a moment, her frown morphing into a smirk. “I had the pleasure of giving him a blowjob under the bleachers after the game last week. It was my congratulations present to him for passing the winning touchdown. Not that it’s made him make a decision any faster.”
Tiffany made a retching sound before washing her hands. “That is so gross.”
“The only gross part is the end.” Jill turned and primped her hair in the mirror, giving pouty lips to her reflection. “But I spat it out…even though Scott asked me not to.”
I flushed the toilet and opened my stall door just when Tiffany quipped, “He’ll like it then if Jenna lives up to her name and swallows.”
I froze, realizing they had been talking about me. My face burned even hotter when they noticed me and just smiled, apparently unfazed that I’d overheard them. I would never forget the sound of their laughter echoing off the tile walls on their departure.
I was aware of the topic at hand. I had been raised on military bases, not in a cave. But I didn’t know what bothered me more… The fact that one of them had carnal knowledge of the act they were referring to. Or that those girls didn’t know anything about me, yet they found humor in making crude jokes about me just because of my name.
To my amazement, Scott did ask me to the dance the very next day. I turned him down, partly because of the bathroom conversation. As a result, he granted Jill Johnson her wish. I also got something: Scott’s revenge for rejecting the star quarterback.
The story I heard was, I’d offered to suck his dick if he’d take me to the dance. He’d felt sorry for me being new, so he’d agreed. But when the time came to do the deed, I’d flown off like the scared, little bird I was. It’s funny what people will believe when it’s some pompous ass making the accusations.
My punishment was to bear a slew of sexist jokes for the remainder of the school year. Many a night, I cried myself to sleep; thankful I had my own room. I had thick skin after being raised by a military father, but I was still human.
A twist of fate a few weeks after the Homecoming fiasco gave me a ray of hope that I would survive public high school. I was taking a test in Mr. Timm’s Advanced Algebra class. I was seated in the middle of my row, trying to concentrate. But I was constantly distracted by the girl seated in the front of the next row over. Mr. Timm had briefly introduced her before he’d handed out the exams and explained she had been in his class at a different hour but had switched due to moving her study hall.
Her name was Katrina Jenkins…Kat, for short. Another one of the barely-legal group from what I’d heard around the halls. I’d caught glimpses of her before in passing but actually had never had the chance to take a good look at her. From my perspective now, she had long, auburn hair with a gorgeous red tint that set it apart from normal brown hair. It kept falling forward across her desktop, and she kept tucking it behind her ears.
Halfway through class, she stood up and went to see the teacher. I kept my eyes on my paper, but I could hear her ask him for a rubber band…or a pair of scissors.
I dared a peek and was in time to see her sweep her hair up into a ponytail then turn back to sit down. But she bumped her chair, and her pencil rolled off the meager desktop attached. I don’t know why I kept watching her. But I noticed how her shirt grew just a little tighter across her chest when she stooped down. Was the room spinning?
As she stood again, her eyes lifted, meeting mine. It lasted for the briefest moment, and it was over when she blinked. One second, she was facing me. Then, she was sitting down again. But I couldn’t get her dark gaze out of my mind throughout the rest of class.
The next day when I saw her, Kat had cut her hair into a pixie style. I felt a lump izmit escort bayan in my throat at the loss of those long tresses. Yet the shorter do was more becoming. It allowed more of her beautiful face to show.
So began my daydreams of wanting to get to know her better. But I was afraid. Mostly because, while I wanted to be her friend, I found myself fantasizing about what it would be like to hang out for more than doing homework and comparing study notes. I wanted to go to the movies with her. Hold her hand. Stare deep into her eyes. Touch her hair. Maybe even kiss her.
That was not what two female friends usually did with each other, though. So I suppressed my desires and just admired from afar. Every now and then, I’d hear Kat laugh with other classmates. And she smiled a lot. I just wished I was part of whatever was making her happy.
After Thanksgiving break, I was sitting in the cafeteria by myself at one of the tables…as usual. The varsity football players with my same lunch hour had taken the table behind me. The blowjob jokes started the moment they sat down. And I hunched over my lunch tray, trying to tune them out.
Same shit, different day.
I was just wondering why they couldn’t be more creative when I heard a familiar voice that made my pulse race.
“You know what, Scott Martini?” Kat said. “If you and your buddies spent as much time practicing for football as you did gossiping about Jenna Swallow, maybe we’d win more games this year.”
“What’s the team record?” another girl asked. “Two to six?”
“Yeah, Kitty Kat?” Scott sneered. There was the sound of a chair scraping against the linoleum, then he added, “What’s it to you? You got a thing for girls?”
“Ooh, cats like birds,” another boy jeered. “Kat and Swallow.”
I knew that voice as Tim Jacobs, one of the normal hecklers. Another football player. Easy on the eyes, but a jerk all the same.
“That’s the best you can do?” a third girl laughed. “A girl defending another girl makes her queer? Coming from a bunch of guys who like to swat each other on the bare ass with towels in the locker room, that’s pretty pathetic.”
There was a light twitter of giggles and whispers.
Kat snorted. “They’re just jealous that she won’t give any of them the time of day. I don’t blame her. Who wants to be with a bunch of jocks who’ve already banged the entire cheerleading squad?”
There were several gasps and low oohs, a brief smattering of applause, and the sound of several more chairs scraping the floor as the bell rang, dismissing us. I remained after I heard the football guys leave. After I heard Kat’s voice fading away while she chatted about something else with some other girls.
When I blinked, the tears that had welled in my eyes trickled down my hot cheeks.
I had once snuck a couple of my brother’s Playboy magazines before he’d left for college. The pictures had entranced me. How they’d teased at what was hidden by fabric or the creative placement of an object. I’d been interested in the female body ever since, though it hadn’t occurred to me what that might actually mean.
But I thought of that now. And of what Kat’s friend had said…that if a girl stood up for another girl, it didn’t make her queer. Because surely I was if I actually liked other girls in the way that boys liked girls.
One thing for certain, Scott and his crew could never know the truth of that. If I’d thought the oral sex jokes were bad, I couldn’t imagine what my classmates would say if they knew I was pining after another girl. I considered but chose not to pull rank and have my father talk to the principal about the verbal bullying. I didn’t know if it would stop or get worse if he stepped in, so that left it up to me to handle it on my own. Which meant just putting up with it.
Little had I known I’d had someone right here in my corner. Kat’s decision to stand up for me didn’t stop the whispers, but it made them more bearable. Though I never knew for sure if she had known I was in the cafeteria that day, I found that Kat smiled at me more when we passed in the hall or in class.
The more often I saw her, the harder it was to fight my feelings. I found myself daydreaming even more in Advanced Algebra, staring at Kat’s hair while Mr. Timm droned on about quadratic equations, coefficients, and polynomials. Thankfully, my grades didn’t suffer.
When prom came around, my mom asked if anyone had invited me. I lied and told her that Kat had asked me to join her friends who were all going stag, but I was still hesitant to go. The invitation actually hadn’t been directed to me specifically. I’d just heard them talking about it at lunch one day. But I couldn’t admit to my mom that all of the boys hated me because I wouldn’t sleep with them. So it was go alone or not at all.
My mother insisted I go with the girls. It was important for me to experience the ritual. I would never tell anyone, but I only agreed so I could see Kat in a dress. I had not been disappointed. Yet, I izmit sınırsız escort had remained in the background, just observing the entire time. Which allowed me to witness Scott Martini and Tim Jacobs spiking the punch before a teacher waylaid them. Although I had not been the one to tattle, I couldn’t help smiling and giving them a wave as they were marched past where I was sitting on the way out of the gym. As a result, the jabs and sneers doubled. But it was worth it.
Somehow, I managed to make it through the end of the school year with my sanity.
College was a welcome respite to the jeers I’d gotten used in such a short time. Although I’d only had to endure it for one school year, it had felt like so much longer. I was glad I could bury my nose in the books again and not worry about what others were saying behind my back.
I was also glad to be out on my own, though I missed my sister. We had always been close, telling each other everything. Though I’d never revealed my secret crush to her. I didn’t trust anyone that much. No one would understand.
I was glad that my younger sibling had friends of both sexes from the base…and a tougher skin. Hopefully when our mother decided to send her to public school, too, Mer wouldn’t be bullied. She was a bit of a tomboy and more like our brother. I had a strong feeling she’d punch someone in the face after the first crack they made about her name…if they even got that far.
Though I drew the attention of boys, I still found I had no interest in them. I went on a couple of dates just to be sure, but they only liked to talk about themselves, gaming, or sports. I even let one kiss me goodnight. It was wet, sloppy, and he smelled like garlic from our dinner. Plus, he was trying to grope me at the same time. Thankfully, he had not attempted a second kiss…or a second date. And I swore off men from thereon out.
Despite my failures in intimate relationships, I learned to be more assertive when it came to the rest of my life. I was finally becoming my father’s daughter. I aimed to make him proud. And while I didn’t want to pursue a profession in the military as he and my brother had, I could still use those skills in whatever field I did choose. I only wished I’d developed the backbone years earlier. Not only to stand up to the haters, but to be honest with the one person I wished I’d mattered to.
Every now and then, I’d see someone who reminded me of Kat. Once, I approached a girl on campus thinking it was Kat from behind. She’d had the same hair color. Same short style, too. To say that I was disappointed to find out I had been mistaken was an understatement. I’d lain in my dorm room that night, staring at the tiled ceiling. Trying not to let my roommate hear me cry while envisioning my high school crush in my head and wishing I’d brought my one-and-only yearbook with me so I could see her face again. Those eyes.
I resolved that I needed to force myself to move on or Kat would forever haunt me. So I doubled my efforts in getting through my classes and avoided a social life whenever possible. It’s funny how time seemed to fly after that.
I spent my junior year abroad in Italy and France mostly. It was easy to blend in either place having taken both languages my first two years at the university. The freedom to do what I wanted whenever I wanted—within reason and when I wasn’t studying—was refreshing. Meredith even came to see me for a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But it wasn’t until my senior year back home at the university that I openly admitted I was a lesbian. It happened on one of those rare nights in the early spring when I ventured outside of my apartment.
I would like to say that I had willingly agreed to go to the gay club with some of my classmates. They’d heard it was a great place to dance. I’d been tempted more than once before to go for obvious reasons. But I’d always feared I would be recognized by someone I knew. And now, that the girls who I studied with would see the real me.
It had taken some coaxing, but I’d gotten into the car with them. Once we’d arrived at the club, they paired off, leaving me standing there alone as the literal fifth wheel. So I threw back my shoulders, lifted my chin, and marched up to the bar. But even with a drink in hand, it was difficult to relax.
The music was loud, and the lights were obnoxiously bright as they bounced around the otherwise dark space. Two of the girls had made their way up onto one of the raised platforms and were dancing wildly. At least they had the sense to hold onto the safety railing with the hand that wasn’t fisting a bottle of beer. For now.
I found a seat at a corner table where I could keep an eye on at least the girl who was driving. I wondered if I should have insisted on taking her keys. I was half-worried I might get left behind. Plus, she didn’t look like she should get behind the wheel.
I was contemplating abandoning my seat to get another beer when a waitress appeared with a tray…and a single bottle of what I was drinking. I glanced around, but she just winked at me and waved her hand when I tried to pull some bills out of the pocket of my leather jacket. I nodded my acceptance and leaned back against my chair, taking a long swig of the cold brew.