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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13. The Moment

"So I guess I'll pick you up around nine." Jackson said as he slammed on the breaks and put the car in park. 

The car jolted forward and then backward, so did I.

"Yeah, okay. Sure" I said unbuckling my seatbelt. 

"Okay, don't think I'm some freak for asking you this, cause your a guy, well at least I hope so.." I said cracking a smile and sneaking a peak at him hoping to scare away his bad mood. Once I saw a smudge of his smile I knew that things were going to be okay.

"Shoot" he said indicating for me to ask my question

I let out a deep breath, "What do I wear to this kind of thing?" I said tucking a piece of hair behind my ear.

"Just wear what you're wearing now. These parties are always super chill. Don't worry about it, you'll be fine." he said while the car was still running. 

As I sat there devouring the inside of my cheek, I was hoping he would jump out and jog to the other side of the car to open my door for me but when he turned the radio up a little bit I knew that wasn't going to happen.

"Yeah, okay. See you at nine." I grabbed my backpack and shut the car door. I started walking to my front door, but just as I made my way up the steps Jackson yelled,

"Emma.."

I turned around and tucked another strand of hair behind my ear and gripped onto my key tighter hoping it would stop my hand from shaking.

"Bring a jacket. It usually gets cold." He smirked at me, rolled up his window and then backed up and sped away all before I could even look away.

I laughed while I let out a sigh and opened up my front door. As I walked it I let out another huge sigh and tossed my backpack on the ground next to my couch and then plopped on it. I checked my phone and saw that it was only 4:17. I had five hours until this party. I decided to walk to my closet in my room and do some damage control. There was no way I was going to wear the same outfit. I wanted Jackson to notice me, not see me as the same plain Jane Emma. I opened up my door and split my wardrobe that was hanging up in half. As I heard the hangers slide against the metal pole I started drifting off thinking about what the party was going to bring. I stopped myself before I got carried away because I knew that it's better not to get your hopes up and have expectations of what might happen. I learned that last summer from not talking to Jackson. I slid the hangers to my right as I quickly examined every shirt there was I had. I resulted in my favorite warm sweater that was a light sand color and had two buttons that led up to a collar that ended with a hood. I pulled out a long sleeved shirt from a bin up above on the shelf so I would be extra warm. I walked over to my mirror and stared at myself in it. I turned around and looked at my butt,

"Oh, you are definitely  wearing these jeans tonight" I said to myself and then turned around and let out a chuckle. 

I checked the clock on my alarm clock which was on my desk and saw that it was 4:27. Only 18 minutes? I laid on my bed and closed my eyes and started thinking about what happened in the parking lot. I've seen Jackson upset before but I forgot how bad it made me feel. I really only saw Jackson be happy when he was around me. I didn't like seeing that side of him. It made me feel like I didn't have to right to talk or speak or feel for that matter. I shook my head thinking hat would get the thoughts out of my head and then turned to my side. I felt myself drift off and I let myself do it. I usually went to bed at nine which was the time Jackson was picking me up. I was going to need all the rest I could get.

****

I woke up startled and started freaking out that I slept past nine. When I checked my alarm clock and saw that it was 7:57 I let myself breathe again. I sat  up and rubbed my eyes with the palm of my hands. When I looked at my hands I saw black smudge marks and groaned. I forgot I was wearing mascara today. I stood up and trudged to my bathroom and pulled out my makeup remover wipes. As I was wiping away all the dirt, grime and drama from earlier I started thinking about if I was going to drink tonight. I never had a drink in my life, well except for the champagne my parents let me drink on New Years Eve at their business parties, but I don't think champagne was going to be the drink of choice at this party. I rewashed my face and then walked back to my room and sat back down at my desk to redo my makeup for the second time today. I did my usual concealer, powder and mascara thing and rechecked the clock. it was 8:35. I stood up and pushed in my chair and made my way to my closet again to pull out the clothes. As I was getting dressed I got goosebumps because I all of a sudden hit me that I was going to party tonight. I smiled to myself and walked over to my mirror again. 

"It'll just have to do." I said while putting my hands in my back pocket. 

"Shit, house key." I walked over to my backpack and pulled out my house key and put it in my black vest that was laying on my bed and zipped up the pocket. 

When I saw that I had a new message on my phone from Jackson saying he was here I grabbed my puffer vest and zipped it up. I walked out of my room and shut the light off. As I saw Jacksons headlights through my window it occurred to me that this was something new. Being in a car with Jackson at night-not that it changed anything really. 

"Alright. You can do this. Just be cool, be cool Emma." I wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans and walked out my door. 

Jackson was standing next to the passenger side door with it already wide open. I noticed that he changed too. He was wearing a different flannel but this one made his eyes pop because it was navy blue and grey and white. I saw that he was wearing his own black puffer vest that was also unzipped and his pair of steel toed boots. I laughed to myself,

"Aren't those the shoes I puked on?" I said walking over to the door with my hands under my arm pits. He wasn't joking, it really does get cold.

"Yeah, I figured I better wear them in case you throw up tonight on me again." he smiled at me.

Wow did I miss that smile. I got in and he closed the door, I did the usual buckle my seatbelt thing and he did his usual get in and back out of my driveway thing. When we reached a stoplight he looked over and me and grinned,

"You look great by the way." he said and then looked up at the stoplight.

I looked over at him and examined his face that was tinted red because of the stoplight, but then tinted green because of the change of light and noticed that his face was still a little red.

"Thanks. I was hoping I wasn't too over dressed or underdressed." I wimped my hands on my pants again. Damn my clammy hands gene.

"Well considering we're both pretty much dressed the same, I think you're okay." he winked at me.

The car ride was silent and then we took at turn down a road I had never been on. This whole thing was foreign to me. Going to a party, and feeling nervous around Jackson because I was going to my first party. 

"Are you sure you wanna go?" he said losing the silliness to his tone.

"Yes. Im sure. Why...do you keep asking me that?" I looked out he window and saw my own reflection. I stared at myself and saw that my face didn't look like a happy face of a girl who was going to experience something new and fun tonight. I looked over at Jacksons reflection and saw him take his free hand and scratched it against the side of his face. 

"I don't know Emma. I guess, I know this isn't really your scene and I don't want you to feel like you're being pressured to do something you don't want to do." 

"Yeah. Parties aren't usually my scene because I'm the nerdy tutor girl." I rolled my eyes

"Don't take this the wrong way, but....I like tutor girl. It's who you are and I couldn't picture you any other way."

As I stared at the reflection of the green eyed boy who stole my heart, in that moment, I felt as if he took his hands and grabbed it right out of my chest and was holding onto it. And I never wanted him to let go.

****

Jackson took a right turn onto a path that wasn't even a path at all and drove on the grass in-between trees. I held my breath suddenly realizing that this was happening and I was scared out of my mind. I thought about Sadie and how she was on her first date with Rider tonight and how I was on a not first date with Jackson. Looks like my senior year might be my year.

Jackson pulled up in the pitch black next to silhouettes of other cars and shut the car off.

"Ready?" he said as I noticed he rubbed his own hands on his jeans. 

"I guess so." 

We both looked at each other and gave one another a nod of approval and jumped out of the car. Jackson walked over to me with a  case of beer. I looked at it suddenly feeling intimidated. He caught me looking and then looked down at the case of beer and then at me again.

He nodded his head to the right leading the way so I would walk behind him.

"You don't have to drink tonight. It's not a law or rule." he said.

"I know." I said sticking up for myself. I felt like the amateur, which true I was, but I felt as if Jackson was my older brother and I was his baby sister who was tagging along to feel "cool." Not exactly a partying mood.

As we walked over sticks and branches and dead patches of grass, I saw a light appear. I kept walking behind Jackson until I saw a fire with people sitting around it in a big circle. There was a truck parked behind it with all of its doors open and its tailgate down with people sitting on it drinking. Everyone there had a drink and was laughing. I looked around and saw people from our class and people who I never saw before. 

I guess I looked sick because Jackson asked me,

"Are you sure you're okay?" 

I nodded, and stared straight ahead of me with a deer in the headlights face and swallowed the vomit.

"You'll be alright, come on." he nudged my elbow.

I put on a fake smile and walked behind him. As we made our way through the crowd I heard people yelling,

"Yo, Jack, whattup man?" or,

"Hey man, good to see ya again."

I guess Jackson went to a lot of these things.

We made our way to the group of friends of which I actually knew and talked to and saw Mitchell there. He was holding a beer can and went over to me and slung his arm around my shoulder in a drunk, sloppy manner.

"Emma" he dragged out the 'a' so it sounded more like 'Emmaaaaaa'

"Uh, hey Mitchell. How ya doing?" I laughed and looked over and up at Jackson who was nodding his head back and forth while laughing.

"Good now that you're here. You came with Jackson. Why did you come with that scum bag instead of me? Huh Emma?" he had slits for eyes and was swaying back and forth.

"Alright man, lets sit you down." Jackson said taking away his arm from my shoulder and walked him over to a stump that was around the fire.

"I'll take that" he took the beer from his hands and chucked it into the bushes and trees that were surrounding us.

"I guess he already had his fun" Jackson looked at me and chuckled. 

I laughed and watched him as he pulled out a beer from the case he brought. I examined him as he tapped the top and then clicked open. He took a swig of it and I couldn't look away. I never saw Jackson drink before, hell I've never seen him drunk before. I guess there was a first time for everything, and I guess being at my first party was that time.

"Emma!" I heard a voice from behind me and turned around.

"Dallas? What are you doing here?" I felt my heart stop.

"Im friends with Jackson. Which apparently so are you, or at least I hope you're just friends because I kinda like you" he said. I knew he was drunk by the way he was walking over to me and by the bottle of vodka in his hand that was half gone.

I let out a fake laugh and looked at Jackson again.

Jackson leaned in and whispered,

"The truth comes out when you're drunk." he laughed.

"Is everyone here already drunk?"I looked around me

Jackson shoved his free hand in his pocket, "Some aren't, most aren't. The party just started ten minutes ago. Some of these people just started drinking before."

I nodded and made an 'O' with my mouth.

"Wait, Jackson. If you're drinking does that mean I'm gonna have to take you home tonight?" I looked at him.

"Oh shit. I guess so..." he tossed his keys to me.

I caught them and gripped them.

"Unless..."

I looked at him again. 

"Unless what?"

"Unless you wanna drink...."

I looked at the beer in his hands  and the case by his feet.

"Emma? Drinking? Thats a good one. She's too much of a goody two shoes." Gavin said and took another sloppy drink of a bottle of a substance that I couldn't tell what it was.

Jackson laughed and looked at me. Then, it was like my heart that he grabbed before was crushed. He was laughing at me because he thought that I was too much of a goody two shoes? He thought that I wasn't cool enough to be with him or his friends. 

I looked at Jackson and then his friends and raised my left eyebrow. I don't know if it was my nervousness, or the fact that my heart felt like it died, or the adrenaline rush but I knew what I wanted.

Soledad O'Brien once said, "I've learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transform your fear into freedom." My vision was clear in that moment. I felt hurt, pain, and fear in that moment. But most importantly, in that moment I knew that I couldn't let my blinders block what might be down my path later on in life. I couldn't be afraid of this moment and how it, how I felt.  I looked at the boys again.

I took Jacksons keys in my hand, tossed them back to him, and grabbed a beer. As he caught them looking surprised, angry or startled, (I couldn't tell) I snapped the can open and took a big swig.

"Looks like your the one driving tonight."
 

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