When I walk out of Pencey Prep I'm holding Steph's hand, Criss sees us and I sort of have a bit of a smile on my face because I know I've won. She's not a game or a toy and I get that but ever since I met Criss he'd always get the girl I liked and I was sick of that because he'd use them for a fuck or a gobby and then dump them.
"Gobbys for da boys!" he used to joke, (for those of you who don't know what I'm on about a gobby is a blow job)
The MCR bus picks us up and she gets dropped off first, she waves goodbye and I tell her I'll pick her up in the morning and I watch her disappear into the house.
The guys drop me off and I thank them for all their help and driving us around and shit.
The next morning I walk Steph to school and it's a long, tiring, quiet walk- we don't talk much.
We walk into Pencey Prep hand in hand and it's like the first day all over, her long black hair is flying out all over her face from the wind and she's in that sloppy joe but this time she's wearing long pants and green docs, Mrs Porter gave her special permission to be out of uniform until all her cuts heal and she can take the bandages off but until then she keeps a spare shirt and pair of pants or leggings in her locker, just incase.
I admire her for always being able to try and smile even when everything's wrong, for trying to break through her depression slowly even though she's not admitting anything I can tell shes trying so hard. I'm so proud of her, I really am.
I went over her house after school and I was just lounging around her bed and she was sitting on the window seat, hugging her knees.
Incoming Skype call.
She accepted and it was Joelle, she was crying, I squeezed myself in next to Steph on the window seat to find out what's going on.
"J-Jo?" she asks
Joelle sniffs loudly and looks up, her makeup is all dripping down her face and her expression told us something was seriously wrong.
"Jo t-take a deep breath a-and tell me w-what's happened"