Jake Undone

By: Penelope Ward

“Huh?” I then realized I had been staring at his mouth the entire time.

“You’re not paying attention,” he said firmly, his gravelly voice vibrating through me.

“I’m…I’m sorry,” I said.

“You want to just stop?” He sounded frustrated with me.

Instead of providing a yes or no answer, my exhausted (and horny) mind decided to take a detour.

“Did it hurt?” I asked.

Jake squinted his eyes. “Did what hurt?” he asked abruptly, almost seeming annoyed at me.

“That,” I said pointing to his lip ring. “The tongue ring, the lip ring, the brow ring…all of them. Was it painful?”

Shrugging his shoulders, he said, “I don’t really remember. I got them when I was like sixteen. I had way more of them back then, too. I don’t think it was that bad, though.” He lifted his brow with a smirk. “Why…are you considering getting one?”

I giggled like a drunk schoolgirl. “Me? No. Uh-uh. I don’t think I could withstand the pain.”

Jake’s eyes darkened and met mine. “Sometimes if you are willing to withstand a little pain in life, Nina, you might discover a pleasure that you never would have otherwise known existed.”

I felt flushed. “Are we still talking about piercings?” My voice lowered to a whisper. “Are you talking about…piercings…down there?”

His eyes widened, and he slammed the textbook down. “Down there? No, actually. I was referring to your fear of everything, Nina, but now I believe you might be referring to whether or not my cock is pierced.”

Mortified, I looked down at the ground and shook my head vigorously. “Oh my God. Forget I ever said anything! I think I am so tired that I am delirious. It’s probably time for me to hit the hay.”

I immediately started messily gathering papers, along with my textbook and stood up. Speed talking, I said, “Jake, thank you so much for this. I think I really get it now. I’ll let you know how I make out tomorrow.”

He got up but didn’t say anything.

I walked backwards out of the room, dropping things and tripped over his wastebasket which made him chuckle.

I practically ran to my room, and as I opened my bedroom door, Jake’s voice stopped me from down the hall.

“To answer your question, Nina, that pleasure is worth the pain too.”

Speechless, I entered my room and shut the door behind me, gearing up for another night of restlessness.


As I sat in class thinking about last night’s tutoring session, Professor Hernandez began to address the room and startled me out of my daydream.

“Please quiet down, folks. We have a lot to get to today. We’re going to spend the first half of class running through some of the examples you turned in. Then, the last half will be the exam.”

He paused for about a minute looking through the stack of homework submissions.

“Where is Ms. Kennedy?”

I raised my hand. “Here, sir.”

Professor Hernandez put his glasses on and examined the paper in his hand a bit more closely before looking over at me. “Pimps and whores, Ms. Kennedy?”

My heart fell to my stomach, remembering that I had submitted the two examples Jake and I put together for the transportation and nutrition word problem assignment. Whoops.

Please don’t mention Mrs. Ballsworthy’s shit cake.

The class erupted in laughter at the pimp reference, and when it started to die down, I said, “Yes, sir.”

He shook his head and examined the document again. “All I can say is, you’re lucky the solution is correct, Ms. Kennedy.”

I nodded silently, wanting to crawl into a hole.

When the attention of the class finally left me, my breathing settled. Just as the professor moved onto another student’s assignment, my phone vibrated then began to play a song I didn’t immediately recognize, loudly disrupting the lecture.

I then quickly realized it was Everywhere You Look, the theme song to the show Full House.

No. no. no. no.

I looked down at the screen: Jake Calling.

I immediately silenced the phone, and the noise from the song was replaced with the sounds of my classmates laughing and whispering.

He didn’t.

He did. Damn it, Jake.

Apparently, when he took my phone away the other day, he must have programmed it as a “special” ringtone for his incoming calls.

I looked up at Professor Hernandez’s stern expression. “Ms. Kennedy, I suggest you silence your phone during my class.”

I swallowed and said, “I am very sorry.”

As the professor continued with the lecture, the guy next to me said, “That was classic.”

I turned to him and noticed that he had a really nice smile. He was actually very good looking, not in the darkly gorgeous way Jake was, but in a preppy with fine features sort of way. His short, light brown hair was neat, and he had big blue eyes and a small perfect nose with a dusting of freckles.

“I’m Alistair,” he whispered, holding out his hand.

I took it and smiled. “Nina.”

Professor Hernandez glared in my direction again. Alistair took notice, so we stopped talking, turning our attention back to the front of the room.

After a few minutes, I looked down at my phone to find a text from Jake.

Jake: How did the test go?

Nina: Still in class. We haven’t taken it yet. He is going over the assignments and called me out for the whore example. Thanks a lot for that ringtone. That was the icing on the cake.

Jake: The shit cake? LOL. My pleasure. Let me know how the exam goes. I need to know if I have to start planning. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I laughed even though the text made me very uneasy and reminded me what I was up against.

My phone vibrated again.

Jake: Stop freaking out, Nina.

How did he know I was freaking out? I smiled to myself, put my phone back in my purse and glanced over at Alistair who grinned at me.

Professor Hernandez instructed the class to put all mobile devices away and began handing out the exams.

The problems presented were very similar to the homework assignment, and I began to make some tables and break down all of the information like Jake had showed me.

By the time I had finished, I knew I had gotten at least two out of the five problems correct but was unsure about the rest.

I could feel the doubt and anxiety building, and then the professor indicated our time was up. He walked around to collect the exams and let us know that he would correct them after class and post the results online tonight. He had setup a page on his website where we could log in for exam results.

The class was dismissed, and as I was walking out of the classroom, I heard Alistair behind me out of breath. “Nina, wait up.”

“Hey.” I smiled. “How did you do?”

“Pretty good. I think I got them all right, actually,” he said.

“I wish I could say the same. I know I got at least two correct, but not sure about the other three.”

“Well, if you’re having trouble, I’d be happy to help you after class sometime.”

“That’s really sweet, but believe it or not, I actually have a really great tutor and still can’t manage to do well…so…”

Alistair nodded and flashed me another big smile. “Well, maybe we could just hang out sometime?”

I hesitated. “Sure. That would be nice.”

“Great. Um, let me get your number. I’ll put it in my phone.”

As I watched him enter the information, I suddenly felt uneasy and deep down, I knew it had something to do with my growing attraction to Jake. I was pretty sure I wasn’t even Jake’s type but still couldn’t help the crush I had on him. I guess in a strange way, in agreeing to a date with Alistair, I felt disloyal to my own feelings. I was never the type that could focus on more than one guy at a time, even if the guy in focus had no clue how I felt. But I needed to move past that. I was pretty sure that it was unhealthy to think something would happen with Jake, especially after the little sexcapade I had overheard when I first moved in. Clearly, my roomie has his own “stuff” going on. That, coupled with the fact that he disappears to Boston every weekend…well, even if I was his type, which I’m not, it just wouldn’t—

Alistair interrupted my thoughts. “Hey…are you still with me?”

I didn’t realize I had zoned out. “Sorry, I was thinking about the exam.” I lied.

He handed me back my phone as we walked toward the exit. “So, what was the deal with the Full House song?”

“Ugh. My friend changed my ringtone without my knowing. It’s a running joke that I resemble the Olsen twins.”

Was Jake my friend? I guess he was.

Stop. Thinking. About. Jake.

Alistair grinned. “Really? I wouldn’t have picked up on that. I mean, they’re cute and all, but you’re much cuter.”

“Why, thank you. You would be the first person to hold that sentiment.”

“Well, it’s true,” he said. There was that thousand-watt smile of his again.


“So…I better run. I have a Psych class that starts in a few minutes next door,” he said.

“Okay. Enjoy that.”

“Bye, Nina. I’ll call you soon.”


That afternoon, on the walk home, I came up with a plan to butter Jake up so that he would go easy on me with the whole fear-facing punishment. Maybe I could make a deal with him where I could at least have some say in what he chooses to have me do. For example, even though riding the subway was something I avoided, it gave me nowhere near the terror that elevators did. I was sure he didn’t realize just how incapacitated I had become over the years and how hard it was going to be for me to face my fears.

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