| Quote #7
There in their secret place, his feelings bubbled inside him like a stew on the back of the stove--some sad for her in her lonesomeness, but chunks of happiness, too. To be able to be Leslie's one whole friend in the world as she was his – he couldn't help being satisfied about that. (7.112)
Jess compares the combination of his feelings for Leslie to a "bubbl[ing] […] stew." Great metaphor, right? This gives us a vivid picture of how his feelings are churning and turning around inside him, evenly mixing between the positive and negative. Even as Jess feels bad for her because she doesn't have other friends, he's happy that she feels as strongly about their friendship as he does.
| Quote #8
"She loved you, you know." He could tell from Bill's voice that he was crying. "She told me once that if it weren't for you…" His voice broke completely. "Thank you," he said a moment later. "Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to her." (12.13)
While the timing of this isn't the best – Jess can't really take anything in because of his grief, and immediately starts thinking about how Leslie would've laughed at this – it confirms the news he was so glad for earlier. Their friendship was pure and good, and so important. He mattered to Leslie just as much as she mattered to him. She loved him.
| Quote #9
She was scraping at the mud on her bare legs. "I just wanted to find you, so you wouldn't be so lonesome." She hung her head. "But I got too scared." (13.35)
We knew it… May Belle was ready to be Jess's friend all along. He just wasn't yet ready to see it. There was no room in his mind or spirit to treat her like an equal and friend instead of a little sister. May Belle's trying to give him something because he's "lonesome," just like he wanted to give Leslie a great present. Both of them are acting generously towards their friends without thinking about other ulterior motives.