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Jason and Kylie, Naked in School Chapter 10

"Okay," Kylie said shortly when they reached the library. "We're supposed to research sexual attitudes throughout the ages. I'll take the primitive barbarians, and you can have the enlightened folks closer to now."

Jason carried his books over to a study table in the corner and sat down, pulling out a chair for her. "Have a seat a second."

"We've only got an hour," Kylie said as she sat down.

"I know." Jason nodded. "But that's not why we're really here. We're here because I asked her to give me the chance to talk to you alone."He sighed, looking at the table. "Kylie, what really happened? You haven't been yourself since I met you after first period. Something's gone wrong. Everyone can see it."

Kylie frowned. "I'm not a research project, you know."

"No," Jason said. "You're my friend, and I'm worried."

"Don't be. I'm just acting more like everyone else. Isn't that what you wanted?"

"No, it's not," Jason said. "What I wanted is for you to be happy. And I am worried. Please, tell me what happened?"

"I already told you what happened," Kylie said. "It didn't bother me, and no one hurt me on purpose."

"Stand up," Jason said.

"Why?" Kylie asked cautiously.

"Trust me, please?"

Kylie frowned, then sighed. "I guess standing up counts as a reasonable request, anyway," she said, standing.

Jason reached out and tugged her closer, then pulled her down on his lap. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here for you. Something happened that really upset you, it's obvious. If that happened to one of your friends, you'd want to help them, right? I want to help you."

Kylie was trembling slightly by the time he was finished. "I'm okay, Jason," she said, her voice choked. "I'm okay. No one hurt me on purpose. Please believe me."

"Just tell me what happened," he said. "I'm here. You're safe. You can tell me."

"Nothing happened. I mean it. Nothing happened, I promise. I'd tell you."

"Then what upset you so badly?" he asked.

She pulled her knees up, curling up on his lap. "I really, really, really don't want to talk about it."

"Please? Kylie, whatever it is, I won't think badly of you. I promise."

"Please, Jason? It's not anything anyone did, I promise. It's just me, okay?"

"But it upset you," Jason said, looking at her earnestly. "You can tell me, Kylie. I don't think you're a prude, or a tease, or that you are silly for not being like the rest of us. And maybe if you tell me, it won't bother you as bad, or we can figure out a way for you to avoid it, okay?"

Kylie half-laughed, a strangled sound, and tears filled her eyes. "No. I really can't. Not this. It wouldn't help. Trust me, please? I know, and I can't tell you and nothing will change that and nothing will help except maybe time."

"Why can't you tell me?" he asked.

"I just can't," she said. "Please believe me."

Jason looked at her, pained. "Kylie, it hurts me to see you like this."

"Then don't ask questions!" she said, pulling away.

Jason kept his arms around her, loosely. "But you were like this even before I asked. In the hall, it was like you... just didn't care anymore. Like it didn't mean anything to you anymore." He looked her in the eye. "Like you were giving up."

She looked away. "Maybe it would be better if I did."

"No!" He pulled her against his chest again, hugging her tightly. "No. Don't give up, Kylie. You'll find that special guy. It may take you a while, but if it's that important to you, don't give up."

She closed her eyes, tears trickling down her cheeks and onto his chest.

"If it's that important to you," he said, holding her gently. "If it's that important to you, Kylie, it's worth waiting for."

"I'm tired of fighting, Jason," she whispered. "I'm tired of caring. It doesn't get me what I want anyway, doesn't get me anything but more fights. I'm just so tired. I wish everyone would just go ahead and take whatever they want from me so I can be done with it."

"Oh, baby, you don't really want that, do you?" Jason asked. "Do you really just want to let someone take something from you that's so important to you? And who are you having to fight?" He looked at her, suddenly worried. "This isn't because of lunch yesterday, is it? I really wasn't trying to say that you shouldn't be like you are, I was just worried you hadn't thought about those things."

Kylie wrapped her arms around his waist and started crying in earnest. "No, you didn't do anything wrong. But I do, I do! I'm so tired."

"Why are you so tired?" he asked gently.

"I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired of caring what h-happens to me. If I d-don't care, it won't hurt!"

"Yes, it will," he said, hugging her again. "Who are you having to fight about this?"

"Everyone!" she cried. "What's wrong with just not wanting to care anymore? No one else cares whether I want it or not... except you."

"Yeah, I care. And I don't think that nobody cares. Maybe there's a few...." He bit his lip, afraid she'd been pushed to have sex. "Are you sure you can't tell me what it was that upset you so much?"

Kylie shook her head. "No. Nothing happened like what you're thinking, I promise. It had nothing even to do with the program."

Jason looked at her, unhappy. "Trust me. People do care. There are some idiots, yeah, but there are good guys, too. Remember Steve, yesterday? He didn't try to force you, did he?"

She blushed. "No."

"See? He cared." He kissed her on the forehead. "Don't just give up. Not on something that's obviously this important to you."

"I don't know what's important to me anymore! Would you rather I stay miserable anytime someone touches me? That's what caring makes me."

Jason sighed. "Well, maybe... what is it about sex that's that important to you? What is it that you want to have?"

Kylie slid off his lap, rubbing her eyes, and he couldn't mask the flash of hurt that crossed his face. "Things that are already gone."She leaned against the table, looking at the floor. "Intimacy. Respect. Self-control."

Jason looked at her, puzzled. "Okay. Um. I've gotta admit, I'm not sure what those have to do with sex. You can be intimate with someone without having sex with them. And I don't get the connection between having sex and respect and self-control at all."

She sighed and walked over to the window. "Yes, you can be intimate with someone without having sex with them, but you can't have sex... I can't... without being intimate. Intimacy... physical intimacy, I mean. I want to choose who I share my body with. I mean, it's mine, isn't it? I want to be in control of who I let touch me. I want it to be someone I respect, and who respects me. I want to know that I'm not just another chick, interchangeable. If sex isn't important, then why is it important to be able to have it with whoever you want? If it's such an unimportant, unnecessary thing, then what's wrong with reserving it for one person? And if it's not unimportant, then how can it be wrong to want my beloved to cleave only unto me? To show me that much respect?"

Jason stood up and walked over next to her. "That makes sense, I guess. But I'm not sure why you assume that having sex with other people means he wouldn't respect you." He hesitated. "If I had sex with you, and still had sex with other girls, that wouldn't mean I didn't respect you. Honestly, Kylie, with what I've learned about you over the last few days, I can't imagine not respecting you. And the physical intimacy thing... remember yesterday, in the shower? How Steve held you, and I touched you? How did that make you feel?"

"Physically, good," Kylie said bluntly. "Emotionally... like a fake and a whore."

Jason winced. "Shit, Kylie... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I guess I don't understand. Why did you feel like a fake?"

"Because sex is important to me," she said. "But my body responded like it didn't care who touched it. Isn't it stupid to play the scared little virgin and still get off on being fondled in front of a crowd of horny guys?"

"No," Jason said, equally bluntly. "No. But I don't think that's what happened. You did care who touched you. You trusted me, and you trusted Steve. You didn't get off just because guys touched you, you got off because a couple of guys you trusted touched you. You're assuming that sex can only be important to you if you only have sex with one guy. That's not necessarily the case. You can have sex with more than one person and have it mean things. Maybe you'll never do the Orgy Room after the game, but you could still have sex with your friends and have it be that— friendship. And maybe you have a boyfriend, and you have sex with him, and that's love, and what you do with your friends doesn't take away from that love." He looked down for a minute. "Oh, hell, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. It's not like I've ever been in love."

Kylie stared out the window. "Think about it a minute, then. Imagine there's someone... someone wonderful, and all you want to do is spend every minute with them, making them happy, making love to them.Imagine that having them touch you is the most wonderful feeling you've ever had."

"Okay," Jason said.

"Now imagine them telling you that you're not enough for them."

Jason winced. "Yeah. That would hurt."

Kylie nodded. "Yes."

Jason turned pale as he suddenly realized what had happened to her, and who'd hurt her. "Fuck," he said, his stomach churning.

Kylie straightened, carefully not looking at him, and walked over to the desk, reaching for a kleenex. He snagged her hand as she walked by, and when she resisted, digging her feet into the carpet, he whispered, "Please?"

She reluctantly allowed him to pull her onto his lap and sat stiffly, her hand folded in his, not looking at him.

Jason said, "Fuck, Kylie. I'm sorry. That's not how I meant it, really it's not." He swallowed. "Look, I don't know how to put this... It's not that you couldn't be enough for me, it's that... I like girls. I like touching them, I like making them feel good, and I like having sex with them. It's not that I need 'more' than one person could give me, it's that... oh, hell. I can't explain. Sex has always just been fun for me. And it probably always will be. But that's sex, not love, and there's a difference. At least, I think there is. I've never been in a position to find out. But I know that some of my friends used to make a distinction between 'having sex' and 'making love'. My friend Stacy said she'd have sex with any of her friends— but she only makes love with her husband. And I've seen them together. There is a difference. I don't know how to explain it... it's like it wasn't about the sex. It was about the being together. Hell. That doesn't make sense. Anyway. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. If I honestly thought I could stop having sex with other girls without it feeling... wrong, I guess, I'd ask you out in a heartbeat. But...." He sighed. "I don't know. It just feels wrong to me to restrict it that much. It's not just wanting to have sex with them, really it's not. It's more like... I don't know. It's making them feel good. I like doing that, and I'd feel bad if I couldn't. Fuck. That doesn't make any sense either. I'm sorry, Kylie. I just don't know how to explain it."

Kylie stiffened. "Are you through?" she asked quietly.

"No." Jason shook his head. "Because you're still upset. Give me a minute to try to find a way to make sense? I've never tried to explain this before, it's just been there, so it's hard."

"Stop," Kylie said. "Don't."

He looked her in the eyes, letting his pain show. "Please? I promised I wouldn't let anyone hurt you... don't make me be the one who did...."

"No," Kylie said. "You didn't hurt me. I hurt me. Now let go, and don't you dare feel sorry for me!"

"I won't hold you here if you want to go, and I'm not feeling sorry for you," he said. "But I'm asking you, as a friend, to please let me explain."

"No. Not now. I told you I didn't want to talk about it... but you just had to push. I didn't mean to let you know, and it's not your problem." She softened slightly, seeing something in his eyes. "It's not," she whispered. "You didn't do anything, and you were never less than honest."

"Kylie... I did do something, and you know it. Please, let me explain, or this is going to gnaw at me all day."

"You didn't," Kylie said. "But you've got to stop or I'm going to cry. Please!"

Jason looked at her. "Then I'll hold you while you cry, if you'll let me. You're my friend, and I want to make it right."

Kylie smacked him on the chest. "Stop it! Stop it stop it stop it!Stop being so... so... so fucking nice!" She dissolved into helpless tears.

"Why don't you want me to be nice?" he asked.

"It hurts, damn it! Why can't you just be a jerk, so it wouldn't h-hurt?"

"I'm sorry," he said, completely serious. "I don't want to hurt you."He closed his eyes, thinking, trying to find the right words to take the pain away while she cried in his arms, little heartbroken sobs.

Finally, he said, "Okay. I think there's a difference between having sex and making love. I can agree with you that making love should be restricted to people you love, if it's even possible to do it with someone you don't love. I say people, because you might fall in love with more than one person. But sex, just simple, friendly sex, is different. That's no big deal. Getting a blowjob from a pretty redhead, or going down on her, or fucking her, is just having fun. It's not anything emotional, and it's not anything special. And it wouldn't take anything away from... the person I loved, because it wouldn't mean I didn't love them. But for me, not restricting sex to just one person is important. I can't explain why, exactly. I'm not as eloquent as you are. I want to make as many people happy as I can. That's why I didn't mind letting Mike go down on me yesterday. I guess... love, to me, isn't about sex. It's not about what you do with your bodies. It's about how you feel for each other, and deciding that this is the person you want to be with, and making a life together. It's about getting to know that person, completely, and letting them see all of you, even the parts you don't let other people see. It's about being vulnerable to them, and them being vulnerable to you, and not taking advantage of that vulnerability to hurt them. That's what love is. Sex is irrelevant to love. I could be perfectly faithful to someone in terms of sex, and yet betray the love in a thousand different ways... and I could sleep with every girl I saw, and never betray the love. Sex isn't the issue, for me. It's keeping my promises, and loving the person I love."

Kylie said, very quietly, "I understand you. It's a valid viewpoint.There's n-nothing wrong w-with it." She stopped, biting her lip and getting control of herself.

"I'm sorry," Jason said, equally softly.

She shuddered, closing her eyes tightly. "I know. Me too."

"I wish there was some way to compromise," he said. He bit his lip, wondering if what he was about to say next would just make things worse, but went on anyway. "I've never actually had a girlfriend, you know. Never been a girl I was interested in as more than just a friend with benefits. But you...."

"Oh, god, don't!" Kylie sobbed. "Don't make it harder, please, Jason. I can't take it."

He winced. "I'm sorry. I did it again." He hesitated, knowing the answer, but having to ask anyway. "Can you see any way to make it work?"

Kylie shook her head. "No. You said it yourself... it's about vulnerability. Sex is a vulnerability to me. Something th-that could be used so easily to hurt me. I couldn't stand to give that much power to someone who couldn't treat it that way."

Jason frowned. "But I'd never use it to hurt you. I couldn't."

"You couldn't help but hurt me," she said. "It would hurt me.Every time... with someone else, would hurt me. I... I'll be honest."She swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "It's really tempting to say I don't care, that I want you bad enough that it doesn't matter what you do, that I'll get used to it, that's it's not important that you don't w-want me as b-badly as I do you, but, I just...." She broke off, biting her lip and shaking her head. "I can't."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Jason said. "I do want you just as bad as you want me, at least I think I do."

Kylie shook her head. "If you did, you'd know it."

Jason smiled wryly. "You don't understand. I've been very carefully not thinking about you like that." He took a deep breath. "Is there no way to convince you that having sex with someone else wouldn't mean that I didn't want you?"

Kylie said, "It would mean that you didn't want me as much as you wanted to do it, and I couldn't handle that... not if I let myself trust you like that, if I let you have that kind of control over me, if I took that kind of risk." She closed her eyes again, wrapping her arms around herself and shivering. "I'm so sorry."

"Fuck," he whispered, just as the bell rang.

Kylie jumped. "I've got to get to class!" she said, panicked.

Jason nodded. "Right. Remember, we're in the girls locker room today."

She shook her head as she grabbed her books. "You go to the girls. I don't need special arrangements anymore."

Jason put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to look at him. "Kylie, I don't think you've changed that much. What would happen if they wanted to touch you?"

Kylie shrugged his hand off irritably. "Then I'd let them. So what?" Her tone changed, as if she was quoting someone. "I ought to be grateful they want to."

"Dammit, Kylie, don't do this to yourself," he said, moving around in front of her. "Please."

"Don't, Jason. I can make my own choices."

"I know you can," he said softly. "And I'm asking you not to make one that would hurt you."

"I am," she said, exasperated, and walked past him out the door.

"Kylie...." he called after her, defeated.

"I can't be late, Jason," she said, looking back over her shoulder. "You don't give a damn about your grades, but it's all I have. My only chance. I can't fuck it up, too."

"What do you mean, too?" he asked, catching up with her.

"Like I've done such a great job with everything else?" she asked, shaking her head. "Isn't it obvious?"

"I don't see anything you've fucked up," he said, keeping up with her.

Kylie sighed. "I'm done beating myself up for fun and enlightenment, Jason. If you can't see it, then I'm not going to paint you a picture. Not now."

Jason shook his head. "If you're talking about what's going on with us, you didn't fuck up. It's just that life sucks. Anything else... well, I don't see anything else."

Kylie shoved her books in her locker, not bothering to stack them neatly like the others, and slammed the door. "I'm not talking about it. God, I hope we do something violent today."

"Fine." Jason sighed. "But for what it's worth... I'm sorry."

"I know," she said, softening. "I am too." With that, she turned and headed for the gym, not looking back.