Part of Emma is a little nervous. Does that make her weak? It's just that end-of-the-world apocalypse tales have always made her crazy uneasy, and she sees the END OF DAYERS preaching on the street corners even in her small downtown square—and what if? What if this is the end?

That's how she finds herself outside of Jesse's house in the very early afternoon—so early, teenage Jesse is probably still asleep—throwing pebbles and woodchips at his window in hopes that today is the day she tells him.

"Psst," she hisses when his groggy eyes appear over the windowsill, "Get dressed, I have something to ask you."

"Emma?" he blinks. "Why are you here?"

"Jesse, please?" She throws her out her arms, dropping the remainder of the window pebbles. "Come down."

"Why didn't you just ring the bell?"

"Your parents have no idea who I am, plus I knew you'd still be asleep, just—come down here, I feel like an idiot."

"You look like an idiot." He rolls his head around, cracking his neck, maybe, "This couldn't wait another hour?"

"Jesse!" Emma bites. "Come down here."

"Fine," he gives her a lazy smile that makes Emma's knees wobble. "But I'm not getting dressed."


"Nope. Take it or leave it, Emma. I come down now as is, or I go back to sleep—and you go back to wherever it is you came from. Mars, is it?"

Emma drops her shoulders, "Okay, just—" his head disappears from behind the misty window pane, "—put on some pants at least—please?"

He comes out of the side door a few moments later. In a loose v-neck tee shirt the color of his eyes and a pair of boxer shorts with dancing bananas grinning cheekily up at Emma like they know something.

"You didn't have a pair of jeans laying on your floor from last night—or something?" she doesn't mean for her voice to sounds as strangled as it does.

Jesse brushes off her panic with a half-hearted shrug, "I'm awake, aren't I? Besides, I'll be careful, I sure don't want to be giving you an unwarranted peep show."

Emma flushes a brilliant fuchsia and Jesse chuckles softly, "I'm serious Emma. Willus is firmly in place."

Emma widens her eyes, "I—uhm."

"I mean," Jesse clarifies hastily, "Tucked away, hidden."

"Right," Emma nods and forces her eyes to stay on his, and not on those of the bananas.

"So, chérie. To what do I owe the pleasure?" Jesse leads her to his backyard, and Emma feels, very suddenly, like she doesn't belong here.

"It's kind of stupid, now that it's actually happening."

Jesse shoots her an icy stare as he sits down, very carefully, on the freshly mowed grass, "You did not wake me up for nothing, chérie. Now come on, sit. Tell Uncle Jesse what's bothering you." He pats a section of lawn next to him and then lies back, finding it too bothersome to keep a hold of the gaping hole in his bananas.

Emma grabs a seat next to him, and settles down Indian-style. She stares out at the manicured bushes in Jesse's yard, contemplating, "The world is supposed to end today."