Over and Out

Emma Hamilton is dealing with being a senior while having a crush on Jackson Reeder who she can't seem to shake. With her two best friends as side kicks at her side, can she take the heat or will she melt under school and the pressure of the guy?

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21. Balls and Alleys

School flew by that whole week; it helped that Jackson picked me up and gave me ride home everyday.  It was finally Friday, and eighth period had just ended. I packed up my books and hugged them close to my chest and made my way out of the classroom. As I stepped outside I saw a figure leaning up against the wall next to the door. I looked and saw Jackson there. A smile immediately appeared on my face, 

"Hey Reeder," I said.

He looked at me and smiled too, 

"Your one minute late," he looked at his wrist that didn't have a watch on it.

"Sorry, guess my clock is different than yours" I shrugged and laughed to myself. 

We started walking to my locker when he cleared his throat,

"Some of the guys are getting together tonight. Gavin is having a party, would you like to come?" he scratched the back of his head and a little bit of his torso peaked out underneath his shirt.

"Yeah, that sounds good.....but I actually have plans tonight..." I made my way to my locker and started doing the combination.

"Oh, yeah. Duh, I should have figured that" he cleared his throat again.

It was silent as I put my books in my locker and grabbed the ones I needed to use for my homework over the weekend. I put them in my backpack and zipped it up. As I was putting it on my backpack Jackson closed my locker door for me and then took my backpack off my back.

"Thanks" I smiled at him.

He always carried my backpack for me. One strap was always on one shoulder while the other one was off. I didn't mind when he did it either because he looked way too good.

"Anything for you Hamilton," he winked at me.

We made our way down the hallway and got an occasional few glimpses here and there but Jackson didn't seem to notice.

I was trying to think of something to say to start a conversation but I couldn't think of anything that sounded interesting.

"Nice weather"

No.

"What did you have for lunch?"

No.

"Cool shoes."

No.

"Did you do you something different with your hair?"

And that is a hard no.

We made our way to the doors that lead outside and I saw his friends standing around in their usual crowd around his truck. 

"What are you doing tonight?" he asked me.

I squinted my eyes to avoid the sun and looked up at him,

"Im going bowling with Sade's and Mel," I looked straight ahead again.

"Wow, I haven't been bowling in ages," he laughed lightly.

I laughed back and kept my pace the same as his so I wouldn't fall behind.

"Hey man," Gavin nodded at Jackson and then at me.

Jackson nodded back and then went to his truck to open up the door for me.

"Did you invite Emma to my party tonight?" Gavin gave Jackson a sly look and then winked at me.

"Yup, and she's busy. Let's go Emma," he said in a flat tone and then put his hand on my back to give me a little nudge.

Startled, I stumbled forward a little bit and then learned how to walk normally. 

"Hey Emma," Mitchell said to me.

I looked over my shoulder and smiled back and then hopped up in the truck.

Jackson opened up the door behind me and put my backpack on the seat. He closed both doors and then made his way to his side. 

He jumped in, started the car and sped off.

"You okay?" I looked at him and asked quietly.

"Fine." he said in a short, low tone.

"Sorry for asking," I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest.

He let out a sigh, and then looked at me,

"Sorry. I don't mean to snap. I guess I just don't like it when they talk to you like that." he averted his eyes back on the road.

I raised my eyebrow,

"Like what?" I looked at him like he was insane.

"I don't know, like you're a piece of meat I guess" he shrugged his shoulders.

I laughed so hard I almost choked on my own spit,

"They are being polite!" I laughed again.

"You don't see the way they look at you Emma," he said in a non-joking tone.

"I guess not because what I see are boys who being gentlemen." I laughed again.

He rolled his eyes this time and slowed down for a stop sign. My phone dinged so I pulled it out of my back pocket. Expecting it to be Sadie, I unlocked my phone quickly but then was shocked. Dallas texted me. I guess I had a really weird look on my face because Jackson said,

"Are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost." in a serious tone.

"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just- Dallas texted me..." I looked at my phone.

"Dallas?" he asked shocked.

I nodded and responded back.

"What did he want?" he stopped again.

The truth was that Dallas asked if I wanted to hang out tonight. For some reason I felt obligated to tell Jackson, like I would be doing something wrong if I hung out with Dallas. But then I remembered that I wouldn't be doing anything wrong and that I was going to be alone forever if I didn't find someone other then Jackson. 

"Nothing" I looked out the window and tried to brush off the question.

"Emma...." Jackson said trying to get it out of me.

"Nothing, okay?" I held up my hands and looked back out the window.

"Alright," he shrugged his shoulders and kept driving.

I looked back at my phone and responded back to Dallas,

"What do you have in mind?"

****

"You invited a guy?!" Sadie stomped her foot that had a bowling shoe on it and crossed her arms.

"What's the big deal?" I gawked back.

"The big deal is that bowling nights is girls night. And you totally just screwed us all by inviting Dallas" she rolled her eyes and said "Dallas" with a scrunched up face and a high little girl tone.

"He asked me to hang out, what was I supposed to do?" I threw up my arms.

"Uh, say no! I said no to hanging out with Rider tonight," she put her hand on her hip.

"But you and Rider already have a thing! And you," I pointed my finger at her, "Were the one who is always telling me to move on from Jackson,"

"That was last year!" she defensed herself.

"So" I looked at her with huge eyes,

"Uh, hey Emma...everything alright?" a boy's voice echoed behind me.

I turned around and saw Dallas standing there,

"Hey Dallas. Yeah, everything's great," I smiled starting to feel flustered.

"Are these your friends" he smiled and nodded at them.

"Uh-huh. This is Sadie and Melanie,"

They both smiled at him and waved.

"Could I please steal my friend for just a second," Sadie stepped in and pulled me away before he could answer.

"Ow, you're hurting me!" I pulled my arm away from her.

"Okay, I change my mind. He can stay,"

"Why the sudden change of heart?" I looked at her shocked.

"You didn't tell me he was that hot!" she slapped my arm.

"Ouch," I rubbed the spot where she hit me, "and back off! You have someone!" I lightly slapped her back.

We laughed and then walked back to where Melanie and Dallas were standing.

"Ready to bowl?" he smiled at me.

"Ready to get your ass whooped?" I smiled back.

****

It was Dallas' turn and we were almost finished with our first game.

He grabbed the ball off the ball return and stepped up on the alley. He sped walked an then rolled it. It was straight line up and it was no shock when it turned into a strike.

He held his hands up in the air and turned around,

"What do you call three strikes in a row Emma?" he looked at me with a crooked smile on his face.

"A turkey," I said in a low hushed tone. I was looked at him with squinted eyes and mean eyebrows.

"Who's getting their ass whooped now?" he sat down next to me.

"Oh, you just wait and see," I stood up and made my way to the ball return. 

I grabbed my ball and stepped on the alley. I lined it up just right and then ran, threw the ball down and watched it as it made a straight shot. It knocked down every single pin. I turned around with a sly look on my face,

"And what do they call four strikes in a row Dallas?" 

"A Hambone" he smiled and rolled his eyes.

"Looks like I won" I smiled to myself and sat back down next to him.

"Another game?" Sadie suggested.

I looked at Dallas,

"I'm down if you're down," he smiled at me.

I smiled and was about to say something when I heard,

"Yo, Dallas!" I turned around and saw Gavin walking in with his arms up in the air.

"What's Gavin doing here," I looked at Sadie feeling uneasy.

"Hey man," Dallas stood up and walked over to Gavin.

While they did a manly bro hug thing I saw the rest of the crew walk in behind him. There were about nine other guys.

"What the hell...." I said to myself.

Sadie walked over to me,

"This has disaster written all over it," she whispered. 

"Ya think," I looked at her bluntly.

I looked around at the guys and then saw another one walk in. He was looking at his phone while walking in, but then stopped to put it in his pocket. He looked around and then landed his eyes on me.

"Jackson," I said out loud.

He smiled and gave me a wave while I just stared at him.

"Go say something," Sadie nudged my side.

I scooted forward a little bit hesitating but then got determined and walked right up to him,

"What are you doing here?" I put my hands in my back pockets, "Wasn't Gavin having a party?"

"Yeah, but it's not until later. You said you were going bowling and I thought it sounded like fun so I convinced the guys to come," he smiled at me.

He looked behind me,

"Is that Dallas?"

I swallowed,

"Yeah,"

"What's he doing here?" he looked confused.

"I invited him..." I bit the inside of my cheek.

It was quiet for a little bit before he smiled,

"Oh, nice."

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to awkward laugh but I also wanted to go crawl under the table and hide there until Monday.

"I'm gonna go say hey," he started walking off.

I didn't move. I couldn't move. The boy who I liked was in the same building as the boy who I was trying to replace him with. 

"Emma.." Sadie ran up and stood in front of me.

"Hello? You still alive?" she waved her hand in front of my face.

"Nope. I'm dead. Gone. Slay me." I said feeling really dizzy.

"Okay, just breathe. This place closes at midnight so you only have two more hours to go. Just bowl and ignore Jackson. You invited Dallas here, remember?" she put both of her hands on my shoulders and looked me dead on.

"Ignore Jackson, see Dallas. Got it," I nodded my head and gave her a thumbs up.

"You ready to bowl?" Dallas smiled at me.

I smiled back and walked over to him.

"Let's do this."

 

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