Episode 663: HelpCaroline referred back to the same paragraph in her history text for what seemed like the millionth time. The answer was in there somewhere staring right at her, but for the life of her, she couldn’t find it. She had the highest grade point average in her class but she couldn’t come to grips with this very simple bit of homework. She couldn’t concentrate. She was seated cross-legged on the grass outside school. She let her elbows drop to her thighs and her forehead fall into her palms.
"Are you okay?" Jesse asked, his voice subdued, though at least above a whisper.
Caroline lifted her head, pleased to find him seated upright, rather than sprawled on the grass looking half-dead the way he had when she’d first spied him more than an hour before. But he still looked pale. "You’re the one who isn’t okay."
"You’re not." She slammed her books shut and scooted closer to him. "You need to tell your parents."
"Yes. If you don’t tell them, I will." Caroline hated that she hadn’t told them already. What did that say about her? It was so dumb, all because she wanted Jesse to like her.
"I’m sorry you missed your bus."
Caroline shook her head. She’d been running to catch the bus home when she saw him in the grass. Everyone else probably thought he was just soaking up some sunshine, but Caroline knew better. "I’m not lashing out at you because I missed my bus. You need help. I want to help you."
"You are helping. You don’t need to tell my parents."
"How is keeping this secret helping? There’s something wrong with you. You need-"
Jesse touched her cheek, which was startling enough, but then he leaned in, and he kissed her. "You’re helping. It’ll help if you don’t call them. Please, Caroline."
He was not helping her, or himself. He shouldn’t have kissed her. It was her very first kiss, and from the boy she’d always wanted to kiss her. How was she supposed to think after that? How was she supposed to do the right thing?