The Pet Shop Girls: Homeward Hound

SMS from: Rory

To: Jenna


I’m @ south station

home in 30ish


Rory, I know what I said. I meant it. You didn’t have to.


Its ok

I was getting homesick anyway

I missed u


You big dumb idiot. S2


❤❤ see u soon




It was midafternoon and overcast. No sun. Rude, honestly. Jenna had no work, but she couldn’t get back to sleep even though she was allowed to again.


That had a lot to do with the persistent headache. Her boss – and the Regulars, who’d overheard Duke shout “YOU GOT WHAT?” had been more than happy to not count these as sick days, and she had found that she accidentally, somehow, probably a clerical error had some PTO to use.




So here she was. Huddled under a blanket. On the couch. Trying to doze off and her phone was buzzing but ugh fine it’s okay Rory she forgives you.


There was that jingle of keys. That fumbling at the lock. Moments later, the doorknob turned and the door opened, and that shaggy head of hair and those floppy ears poked through.


“Um. Hi.”


“Hi.” Jenna sounded tired. And she’d waved with her left hand. In the trash can were some bandages that didn’t look so good. Jenna flushed. “..Sorry. I haven’t felt like um. Doing. Shit. Lately.”


Rory’s face fell. “Jenna, I’m so sorry. I… I shouldn’t have left town. I—”


“Need to take a deep – ow. – breath, calm down, and realize that you had nothing to do with this and don’t need to blame anyone. Okay?”


Drawing a deep breath, Rory nodded a few times and walked the rest of the way into the apartment, closing the door behind her.


At this point, Jenna was able to see that… Rory wasn’t completely unhurt herself? She had bruises around her wrists, and on her arm, and, um. Around her neck and shoulders?


Jenna’s eyes narrowed. “..Th’ fuck? Were they waitin’ for you or something?” She sounds absolutely, utterly furious. It’s new, actually. It’s new in that usually Jenna gets louder when she gets madder. And also she doesn’t generally make the arctic seem like a pleasant trip.


Yet, she just got quieter and goodness there is a draft.


Rory whirled and pressed against the wall, her expression alarmed. “Wh… what? What’re you talkin’ about?” She sounded genuinely bewildered.


Jenna pointed at her own neck, her own shoulders. “That. What happened there?”


Blinking, Rory raised a hand to her neck, then paused as the realization dawned. Then blushed deep. “Oh, uhm. That’s. Uh.”


“Whoa hold on there whoa stop nevermind.” She still seems pretty mad. That’s probably because Mad is the only feeling Jenna has besides confused.


The puppygirl shrank. “Okay,” she murmured. “I’m sorry Jenna.”


Hey, it’s her other feeling! “Uh? Sorry for- for what?” Blink.


“Makin’ you mad?”


“…I’m not- angry… with you? I was angry because I thought someone had hurt you. Not that you’d–” She waves. “Not mad. That’s the point.”


“Oh.” Rory frowned a little, and said carefully: “you’re… not mad? You still look mad.”


“I am mad. I am not mad at you. I thought someone hurt you. I got mad. I-” She grimaces. “.. cannot explain brain- just- .. I’m not mad. Not at you, okay puppydog?” … That’s not “big dumb idiot”…


Rory blushed again, scratching the back of her head. “Hee.” She cleared her throat, then, and walked over to the couch. She sat next to Jenna and peered appraisingly at her head. “You sure you’re okay?”


“Sure I’m sure,” she said. “… Would I lie to you?”


All right, Rory, snorting like that might have been a little rude.


“I- W-.. wooow.” She actually looked a little bit stung. “That’s not very nice,” she whined.


“Well then, maybe ya aah rubbin’ off on me.” Nonetheless, she finished her examination and nodded, mollified. “Okay. Sorry fer fussin’, I worry. I worried a bunch.”


“What. I’m the nicest. And I told you, I was fine. … you really think your dad would’ve left me alone if he weren’t totally sure I was fine?” … You didn’t tell her that part, Jenna. Did you hit your h- wait.


“Yeh, I guess.” Sigh. “Oh! Hey!” Aaaand topic change. “My new friends all wanna meet ya, by the way!”


She squinted. “..Okay? It sounds like they’re in rock city so alas that probably is destined not to be.”


“I tolja. They’re Legionnaires. They can travel all over the place fer free. And guess what, you already talked to some of ’em! Online!” Good bid, Jenna.


“Oh. That’s… wonder…ful.” fucking shit why. WHY. She could tell Rory that she just doesn’t like people and suggest that Rory was a special case but she reasoned that Rory would probably take that wrong, somehow. …But then, honesty was the best policy. Selective honesty. That’s not lying. “..y’know I don’t like people all that much right.”


“Oh, you’ll come around,” god dammit rory, “they’re real nice! An’ the boy said that you agreed to help him train his cat!”


“It’s for the cat’s benefit, not his,” she said flatly.


Beat. “The Damselfly said ey’d take us out for fancy dinner.” Beat. “An’ pay.”


“…okay yeah I trust those offers as far as I can throw them, now. Damselfly probably wants somethin’.” She waves her hand a bit dismissively.


“Uhm,” Rory blushed again, “ey’s already—”


A blank stare. “Okay. Uh. Either way. I’m good.”


Rory paused, looked over at Jenna, let out an explosive breath, and shrugged. “Right. Okay. Sorry I bothered ya.”


She vaulted up to her feet, shouldered her overnight bag, and walked into her room. She didn’t close the door, but Rory never closes the door.


Jenna watched Rory go. Winced. Wow. She fucked that up fast. She’d be impressed if she weren’t so annoyed. Honesty is trash. She knew better than that. “…Yeah I’ll be back later.” And she grabbed her phone and decided to find a nice quiet diner to sit at and stew. How do you not know better?

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