Through

I was never sure about unconditional love when you're a teenager, not for someone that isn't a family member or close friend, but I got proved wrong. Apparently you can have unconditional love for someone who you've only known for a month, the kind of love that won't fade through anything, even if you want it to.

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11. Eleven

I'm so nervous before dinner the next day. I think it's because I'm meeting his parents. All the other times I met his family were really spontaneous and out of nowhere and we weren't even a thing then. I've got time to actually worry about this and I feel like I have more reason to worry as well. It's one thing meeting his aunt and uncle and siblings. It's a whole other thing to meet his parents. I know Cassie hates me for some reason, what if that means that his mom will hate me too?

He called their place a cabin but it's more like a huge bungalow sort of thing. Jack opens the door with a grin on his face like always and steps aside. I love the atmosphere in here. It's noisy but in a nice way. I can hear people in the kitchen getting dinner ready. The TV's on in the living room on some music channel and Cassie and Hannah are singing at the top of their lungs and it sounds like Lilly's shouting at them to stop. It's hectic but nice too. It's comforting to be around such a big family.

"Hey, you look lovely." he smiles, taking my hand. Then he pokes his head around the living room door. "Will you guys please be quiet? You're so loud all the time, my god."

Of course Cassie and Hannah sing louder and then Lilly, obviously sick of it all, storms out of the living room and into one of the bedrooms, slamming it shut behind her. 

Jack closes his eyes. "I asked them to be nice people for one day."

I laugh. "You know this is exactly what I used to be like?" 

"Yeah and you've still got a bad attitude so that gives me no hope." he teases. "Come on, I think they're in here."

He leads me into the kitchen and Jennifer (who's holding little Tommy) and Leo are in there along with who must be Jack's mom and dad. 

"Hey guys." he says, tugging on my hand a little so I stand next to him because I realise I'm sort of hiding behind him. "This is Jasmine."

"Jasmine!" his mom pushes herself out of the chair which I feel bad about because she's really far into her pregnancy now. She's all smiles though, just like everyone else. "How lovely to meet you! I'm Laura. I would hug you but I'm the size of Jupiter right now."

I laugh. "It's nice to meet you."

"Hi Jasmine!" his dad smiles at me from where he's preparing something for dinner, his hands covered in dough "I'm Mike, it's nice to meet you!"

"It's nice to meet you too!"

"Jack, what is going on with your sisters?" Laura asks, fanning herself. I don't know how I'd survive being pregnant in this heat with all these people around. She's like a saint surely. 

"I have no clue. They're ridiculous." Jack rolls his eyes. Tommy's starting to whinge and he's reaching out for Jack so he lets go of my hand and takes him from Jennifer, lifting him up onto his shoulders. 

"Well will you go have a quick word with whoever slammed their door?" she asks. 

"Alrighty then." he says, taking Tommy off his shoulders and holding him on his side instead. "Come on Tommy. Let's go talk to your sister."

"I no like talking to my sister, I want to watch Cars." Tommy says and Jack laughs. 

"We can't watch Cars now because Jasmine is here." he explains. 

"Let the kid watch Cars!" I nudge Jack and he grins at me as he knocks on Lilly's door, poking his head around. 

"Visitors." he says, a tentative tone. 

"Go away." she mumbles. 

"Please can we come in?" he says again. 

She pauses. "Who's we?"

"Me, Jasmine and Tommy."

"Yes." she says. "Because you haven't been a dick for a while, Tommy's three and Jasmine's nice."

I can't not be happy at that little bit of approval. We go into the room and Jack sits on the end of her bed and I take a seat on the chair. Lilly's sat cross legged on her bed, her face and eyes red from crying and being frustrated. She's still so pretty though, way prettier than I was at fourteen. I know I'm only two years older but it feels like such an age gap. I remember sixteen year olds seeming so old when I was fourteen too. She is so pretty though. The whole family is, everybody has the dark wavy hair and the long eyelashes and the tan skin and the blue eyes. 

"What's going on?" Jack asks. 

"I hate my sisters." she decides. "I hate them."

"You don't hate them." he says in a tone of voice that makes me feel like he's had to have this conversation many times before. 

"I do!" she insists. "They're so horrible to me."

"All they were doing was singing along to the TV." he points out and she groans. 

"You never understand!" she says, frustrated. "You never ever get it!"

"I think maybe it's the principle behind it that she's mad about." I explain to him and her eyes widen as she points at me. 

"Exactly!" she says. "Thank you Jasmine! That's exactly it! Whenever I tell them something's annoying, they just keep doing it! And it's like, not fair, because I'm already stressed out."

He laughs out loud. "What could you possibly be stressed about? You're fourteen!"

She looks straight to me, fire in her eyes. "Do you not want to kill him?" 

He looks at me too. "What?! Why would you want to kill me?" 

I hesitate, a little amused. "If I had an older brother who said that to me when I was fourteen, I'd be inclined to kill him."

He shakes his head, looking at Tommy. "These girls are crazy, Tom."

"You can't tell a girl they have nothing to be stressed about just because they're fourteen." I tell him, laughing at how confused he is. "There's a lot to be stressed about at fourteen."

"Thank you." Lilly says like she's relieved. "Somebody understands me."

Now Lilly's like my little friend I feel completely comfortable at dinner. It's really nice to be around this many people, I love the atmosphere. I sit in between Lilly and Jack. Lilly tells me all about this boy she likes, Lucas, and how he wanted to go out with her but she's stuck here. Laura and Mike talk to me lots and seem really interested in everything I'm saying. After dinner we do games and me and Hannah are paired up for one of the games and she's so funny, I love her.

"We're gonna step out for a minute." Jack tells everyone, taking my hand and pulling me out of my seat. 

"Jack!" Cassie complains. "That's so antisocial!"

"Cas, how is it antisocial?" he frowns. "Jasmine's my guest and I've barely gotten a chance to talk to her all night, can I have five minutes?"

"Whatever." she rolls her eyes. 

"Less of the attitude please Cassie." I hear Laura say as Jack and I step out onto the porch. He shuts the door behind us and we sit down on the bench. 

"I feel like Cassie hates me." I tell him and he shakes his head, putting an arm around my shoulder. 

"She's always like that with girls that I date. Ignore her." he says and then his face softens a little. "You're pretty much best friends with Lilly now so I wouldn't worry too much about Cassie."

I laugh. "I love Lilly. She's just like me when I was her age."

"Really?"

"Yeah. All worried about hair and clothes and that boy-"

"Yeah, who is this boy?" he frowns. "All she talks about is this boy but she won't tell me about him."

"Who would tell their older brother about the boy they like?" 

"You." he grins. "You're meant to tell me about the boy she likes because you're meant to be on my side."

"Whatever." I say and kiss his cheek. "I loved tonight. Thank you for having me."

"I loved having you." he kisses me. I find this whole thing so surreal. I feel like he should still be a stranger to me but he's just not. There's just some kind of connection there that's made us as close as we are already. I don't know what it is but I'm really happy about it.

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