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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19. Little Moster

The doorbell rang and Elizabeth clapped her hands in excitement,

"Oh good! Everyone is here," she walked up to Jackson and brushed non existent dirt off his shoulders,

"Remember to be polite honey,"

"Mom, I'm always polite," he rolled his eyes.

"And leave Nathan alone," she said before she turned and walked out of the kitchen to go answer the door.

"Is Nathan your cousin?" I chuckled.

He nodded, 

"Yeah, and I'm just going to apologize for anything he says to you now. He tends to hit on a lot of girls," he leaned his elbows against the island.

"Oh, I'm sure your just over exaggerating," I rolled my eyes.

"Emma, a black eye. He gave me a black eye" he pointed to his eye.

"And you're completely fine now, right?" I pointed my hand at his eye.

"Well, yeah, but thats besides the point. He's always trying to one up me. Sometimes I would just like to show him whose boss an-"

"Hey, remember, be nice" I pointed my finger at him.

"Yeah yeah, whatever you say "mom."

I heard Elizabeths voice off in the distance become faintly closer,

"Oh I'm so glad you guys could come. We haven't had a nice family dinner like this in so long. And Jackson brought a girl," she said in a giddy tone.

I saw Jackson look at me out of the corner of my eye but I pretended to be picking at something on my shirt.

"And here they are," I looked up and saw Elizabeth with her arms wide open stepping out of the way.

An older women with grey curly hair was walking over to Jackson with her own arms wide open,

"Jackson, it's so good to see you dear," she went in for a hug.

Jackson hugged her back but gave me the look of death,

"It's good to see you too Grandma," they both let go of the hugs.

"And I hear you brought your girlfriend, where is she?" 

"She's right behind you grandma," he pointed at me, "and we're just friends." he raised his voice a little higher to make sure she'd hear that part.

"Oh my goodness," she saw me and smiled, "Liz, you didn't tell me she was so pretty," she yelled over her shoulder and then gave me a huge bear hug.

"It's nice to meet you..I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name," I smiled.

"Call me Carol sweetie," she let go and smiled at me.

"It's nice to meet you Carol," I smiled at her and then looked up at Jackson,

"If you'll excuse me dear, but I need to use the restroom," she patted my shoulder and then walked off to the bathroom.

"Jackson, hey hun," a women with blonde hair came in for a hug next.

Jackson hugged her and gave a genuine smile,

"Hey aunt Connie," he let go, "this is Emma,"

She turned around and smiled wide,

"Hey hunny," she came in and gave me a quick hug, "So I hear you've been hanging around with this one a lot, is he being a gentleman?" she turned and gave Jackson a "mhhm" face.

I laughed lighty, 

"Yes, he has."

"Good, at least he learned one thing," she winked at me.

"Hey!" Jackson threw his arms up in the air.

"I'm not a bad kid aunt Connie," he crossed his arms.

"Whatever helps you sleep at night,"  she lightly patted his chest and winked.

As she was walking away Jackson walked over to me,

"Great. My own family likes you better than me,"

"Do you blame them?" I laughed and then apologized while laughing.

"Ha ha. Funny," he chuckled.

"Jackson, come here sweetie,"Connie called Jackson over.

"Be right back," he said walking away.

I stood around by myself and looked awkardly around the room, not knowing what I should do.

"You must be Emma,"

I heard a deep male voice behind me. I turned around and saw a man who looked just like John.

"Yes," I smiled and stuck out my hand.

"I don't know about you, but we hug in this family," he opened his arms and hugged me.

"I'm Jeffery, but you can call me Jeff." he said.

"Nice to meet you Jeff," I smiled.

"So, tell me, how did my nephew end up meeting a nice girl like you?" he crossed his arms.

I laughed nervously not knowing what to say.

"Really Jeff?" I heard Jacksons voice behind me.

"I leave her alone for two seconds and you're already talking smack about me to her?" Jackson said sounding kind of mad.

"Hey, I was just asking." Jeff held up his hands in defense.

"Oh, is that right?" Jackson started walking closer to Jeff.

What the hell was going on here?

Jeff walked closer to Jackson and then grabbed his head in-between his upper arm and lower arm. He made a fist and gave Jackson a noogie. 

They started laughing and I did too.

"How ya been kid?" Jeff lightly slapped Jacksons upper arm.

"Pretty good," Jackson nodded.

"Good, hey I'm gonna go talk to you dad," he smiled at me,

"Nice to meet you Emma,"

"You two," I held up my hand.

"Okay, your whole family is seriously way too nice," I chuckled.

"Just wait until you meet the monster," he rolled his eyes.

He covered his mouth with his hands and yelled,

"Nathan!" 

I looked around the kitchen expecting a boy who looked kind of like Jackson to walk over to us.

"I don't see him," I leaned over and whispered.

"He's coming," Jackson whispered back.

I kept looking around but then saw movement at my lower eye level. I looked down and saw a little boy turning the corner, walking our way.

"Wait, thats Nathan," I pointed at the the little boy.

"Yeah," he rolled his eyes.

"You said he was a monster," I laughed, "and he gave you a black eye and bloody nose!"

"He did! We were playing basketball and he chucked the ball right at my face!"

I was laughing too hard to say anything,

"Laugh all you want Hamilton, but he's vicious and he will attack. He's like a puma," Jackson said eyeing Nathan.

"Whatever you say soldier," I patted his arm still laughing.

"Hi Jackson!" the little boy ran over to Jackson.

Jackson rolled his eyes,

"Hey Nathan,"

"Whose are you?" I heard Nathan say below me.

I smiled at Jackson and then down at Nathan. I squatted down so I was at Nathan's eye level, 

"I'm Emma. Nice to meet you Nathan," 

He held out his hand,

"It's nice to meet you too Emma,"

I looked up at Jackson and gave him a face, and then held out my hand to Nathan.

"Aren't you just a little gentleman." I shook his hand.

"Thank you. My dad says that there's nothing better than a firm handshake," he smiled proudly.

I laughed,

"Well you dad is right. How old are you bud?" I folded my hands together and placed them on my knees. 

"Four and a half." he held up four fingers on one hand and then two on the other hand.

"Your almost as old as Jackson," I smiled dropping my jaw.

"Except I'm smarter," he crossed his arms and gave Jackson a look.

"Oh, yeah right." Jackson ignored Nathan's look.

Nathan pulled on the bottom of Jacksons shirt and Jackson reluctantly squatted down too,

"What's up little man," Jackson put his hands on Nathans shoulders.

"I have to tell you something," Nathan whispered.

"Okay, what is it?" Jackson leaned in and whispered back.

"She's really pretty." 

Jackson looked at Nathan and smiled,

"So I've been told,"

"Emma?" Nathan looked at me.

I looked at Nathan,

"Whats up bud?" 

"Do you like Jackson?" he tilted his head to his left and stared at me.

I felt my face burning up. I started fake laughing because I didn't know what to say.

Jackson picked up Nathan under his arm pits and held him at his side.

"That's enough out of you little man," he started tickling Nathan.

I stood up and kept fake smiling.

Nathan was giggling and so was Jackson.

"Put me down!" Nathan started kicking at Jackson.

"Alright, alright," he put him down, "Hows school going dude?" he bent down and gave Nathan a serious look.

"Pretty good, my teacher says that I have good grades for being in an extraciclar activity." he smiled proudly. 

I laughed at how he said extracurricular and then covered my mouth so he wouldn't catch me.

"No F's, right?" Jackson questioned.

"Not one," Nathan held up the number one on his hand.

"That's my man," Jackson held out his hand for a high five.

Nathan slapped it and Jackson started waving his hand back and forth quickly to pretend like it hurt,

"That was quite the zinger," he joked.

"Zinger, Z- i- n- g- e- r," Nathan spelled.

"Give me a word Emma," he looked up at me.

Jackson stood up and looked at me,

"Go for it," he shrugged his shoulders. 

I raised my eyebrow, 

"Alright. Hm, how about the word....basketball?"

"Basketball, B-a-s-k-e-t-b-a-l-l," he said proudly.

"Aren't you just a little smarty pants," I smiled and held out my hand to go give him a high five.

"Taught him everything he knows," Jackson scoffed and brushed off his shoulders.

"Mhm, sure," I smiled and rolled my eyes.

"Kids, dinner!" I heard someone yell from the dining room.

"Will you sit next to me Emma?" Nathan asked with the cutest smile on his face.

"You bet," I smiled back.

"Yes," he said sounding more like, "Yessssss".

****

Dinner went by quickly because of the conversations. We talked about school, college, basketball, football, music, pretty much anything and everything. Along with the occasional comments from Jackson aunt,

"And why are you not dating her?"

or

​"You better snatch her up before someone else does?"

Each of which resulted of Jackson and I giving awkward smiles and avoiding each others eye contact.

We were all standing by the front door saying our goodbyes when Jackson Grandma came in for one more hug,

"It was lovely to meet you dear,"

"It was nice to meet you Carol," I smiled sweetly."

​"See you at Thanksgiving dear," she let go of the hug and smiled back at me.

I laughed lightly and looked up at Jackson. He shrugged and then gave his grandma a hug too.

"Uh, why Thanksgiving gram?" he looked at her confusingly.

"Because you two will be dating by then," she patted is chest and then waved goodbye to everybody.

I laughed and nodded my head back and forth.

"Did I mention that she can be embarrassing too?" he pointed out the door at her.

I shoved his arm and he laughed. Everyone finished up their goodbyes and gave their last hugs.

"Ready to go home?" Jackson put his hands in his pockets and looked at me.

I nodded yes because I honestly was exhausted.

"Mom, Dad, I'm gonna take Emma home. Be back later," he said.

"Oh- just you wait Jackson," she ran over to me and gave me a hug, "You can't sneak her away that easily. It was so nice to finally meet you Emma."

"You too Elizabeth. Thank you for dinner, it was really good." I smiled.

I think I gave enough smiles and hugs to last me a life time.

She smiled back and then walked back into the kitchen.

"If we escape now she'll never know," he whispered.

I laughed quietly and snuck out the front door.

We walked around to his garage and got in his truck. He backed out of his driveway and then sped off to take me home.

"You're family is awesome," I looked over and smiled at him.

"Yeah, I know," he smiled to himself.

"And Nathan is too cute. You seemed pretty nice around him for someone who claimed he hated him," I joked.

"I never said I hate him," he exaggerated the word hate.

"Well for claiming he was a monster, you were really sweet to him," I nudged his elbow.

"He's my cousin, I'd do anything for that kid." he shrugged his shoulders and then tried to play it off like he didn't just say the single most cutest thing in the entire world.

I turned away and smiled. I replayed the night in my head over and over again. I was the luckiest girl in the world right now to be where I am tonight. I couldn't help but smile because I was so happy. I hadn't been genuinely this happy in a really long time, not since the last day of junior year. That day and this day had something in common, both of those days had Jackson in them. 

Joseph Campbell once said, "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as we can accept the one that is waiting for us." In junior year, I planned and thought that Jackson and I were going to be friend forever. I also planned to tell him how I felt. I realized that it was time I let that go because, this, what was happening right now might be what was meant to happen all along. Maybe I was meant to find happiness with an old friend again and maybe Jackson and I were meant to only be friends so I could always treasure that happiness. I needed to let to of the past and plans I invasion, and make room for the future. I needed to make room for the acceptance that life isn't always what you want it to be. But sometimes, what you have is better than having nothing at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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