Girls' World

jess is a mess

Jessica Jones listened to her dad lecture her about her messy room for what felt like the millionth time

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“... you didn’t even make your bed. Come on, Jess. That’s the least you could do,” he was saying when she tuned back into the conversati­on.

“I don’t really understand why anyone makes their bed. They’re just going to unmake it later,” she said without thinking, then immediatel­y covered her mouth with her hands.

One look at her dad’s face confirmed that was not what he wanted to hear.

“Making your bed in the morning sets the tone for your whole day,” he said impatientl­y. “It keeps your room neat and tidy, which you know is important to me.”

Which means it should be important to you, Jess finished in her head at the same time her dad said it out loud.

“It was important to me to hang out with Alex and Tish today, but you sent them home,” she folded her arms across her chest, deciding she was already in trouble so she may as well go for broke.

Her dad wasn’t having it. “If it was important to you to hang out with your friends, you should have cleaned your room yesterday like I asked you to.”

They stared at each other for a minute before her dad let out a big sigh and said, “I’m going to come check on you later. Call me if you need help.”

As he walked away, Jess felt her anger

build up. If he thinks I’m actually going to clean my room, he has another thing coming, she flopped down on her bed to sulk. He totally ruined my Saturday! I was supposed to have the whole day to play with Alex and Tish, and now they’re probably hanging out without me.

Her two best friends lived right next door to her — Alex to the left and Tish to the right. It was usually very convenient, but it also made it easy for her dad to tell them to go home when he was in a bad mood. It also made it easy for Jess to check up on them. She went to her side window to see if her pals were in Tish’s backyard — ever since her family had gotten a trampoline, it was one of their go-to spots. They weren’t there, so she figured they were in their second favorite place: Alex’s basement with the super-comfy couch.

So Jess grabbed her computer and sent a video chat invite. A few minutes later, both of her BFFS faces appeared on her screen.

“We were wondering when you’d call!” Alex smiled.

“How was it with your dad?” Tish’s tone was more serious.

“Ugh, I’m so mad at him,” Jess complained. “It’s not even like my room is that messy.”

Her friends were noticeably silent, and

Oh, shoot. He asked me to help him with that, and I totally forgot, Jess remembered.

Tish couldn’t seem to look at her. “Wait, do you guys think I’m a slob?”

“I mean ...” Alex grimaced. “Yeah, but we still love you.”

“I don’t get why we just can’t have somebody clean our house like your family,” Jess looked to Tish.

“My mom always says she has somebody clean our house because she works and has four kids, and it wouldn’t get done otherwise,” Tish said in a voice that sounded just like her mother’s. “She always says cleaning is the last thing any

one wants to do when they get home from a long day’s work.”

“I don’t know if that’s true because Jess’ dad is cleaning right now, and he works longer hours than just about anyone we know.”

“How do you know he’s cleaning right now?” Jess asked.

“Look out your front window. He’s washing the car.”

Oh, shoot. He asked me to help him with that, and I totally forgot, Jess remembered.

He said it was a messy job and he needed all the help he could get.

Jess logged off the chat with her friends and started thinking about what Tish had said. Her dad did spend a lot of time at the office, but he still did most of the cleaning around their house.

Okay, all of the cleaning, she admitted in her head. But isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? I thought he liked it.

She started to feel guilty, so she spent the rest of the day ignoring her dad. She watched movies on her laptop, read some of her library book and did a little homework. She even told her dad she wasn’t hungry when he called her for dinner and snuck down to get some cereal when she knew he was in the shower. In

all that time, the one thing she did not do was clean her room.

“Jess!” she was woken up the next morning by her dad’s yell.

“What, Daddy?” she mumbled sleepily. “Your room is even messier now than it was yesterday!”

At that, her eyes popped open and she shot up in her bed. She looked at her dad and her shoulders fell. “I’m sorry. I just ... I didn’t know where to start.”

“Get dressed,” he said, leaving no room for argument. “I’ll be right back, and we’ll do it together.”

In no time, he was back with trash bags and cleaning supplies. He instructed her to pick up any clothes that were on the floor and bring them to the laundry basket and put any toys in the chest in the corner.

They cleaned together in awkward silence for 10 minutes before Jess worked up the nerve to say something.

“I’m really sorry about yesterday, Dad.” He looked at her with a small smile. “Really, I mean it,” she went on. “I didn’t clean my room and I totally forgot I was supposed to help you wash the car.”

“I know, and that’s the only cleaning job I thought you actually liked,” her dad laughed.

“I do! Mainly because I get to squirt you with the hose,” she giggled.

They cleaned together in awkward silence for 10 minutes before Jess worked up the nerve to say something.

Her dad shook his head with a laugh, then he got serious. “Listen, kiddo, I know you’re mad I sent the girls home yesterday, but I need you to take my rules seriously. I know it’s hard for you but you have to keep this room clean. Once you get into the habit, it’ll be much easier.”

“I know,” Jess said.

Her dad looked shocked. “I thought I was in for a bigger fight here.”

“Well, I was talking to Tish and she said her mom said that the last thing adults want to do when they get home from

work is clean. And I figure, since you’re the hardest working person I know, you probably really don’t want to. So the least I could do is clean my own room.”

Now, her dad looked even more shocked.

“I think I’m going to have to make Tish and her mom some of my famous snickerdoo­dle cookies,” he said when he recovered.

“You mean Tish, her mom and your own darling daughter, right?” Jess looked up at him with big eyes.

“I don’t know. Maybe if you’d cleaned your room yesterday.”

“Dad!”

“Okay, okay, you can have a couple as long as we finish up here.”

“Yes!” Jess cheered.

She finished making her bed and looked around. “You know you might be onto something with this whole cleaning thing, Dad. I do feel much better now that my room isn’t so cluttered.”

“I told you so!”

“Yeah, I should definitely be able to keep it this way for a while now,” she said. Her dad grinned, but looked doubtful. “At least for a few more hours,” she smiled up at him.

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