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.


5. Five

Me, Natalie and Mom go out for a walk the next day and for the first time I truly appreciate where we are. It's so peaceful, more than I'd imagined it would be. There's something so serene to be completely surrounded by nature. I've heard people say that before and I never really understood but I get it now. I don't know how I feel about being here for two whole months but it is pretty. 

I start to feel relaxed here though. Everything's just really simple, I'm either enjoying being around nature or enjoying seeing Jack around (even if I haven't talked to him again) or I'm enjoying feeling closer to my family. I haven't had an attitude once since being here. I think it might be something to do with what my mom said about my dad liking this place. I just feel closer to him and I don't think he'd like me being so mean to them. I haven't thought about the kind of person he was in so long but now I'm remembering how cheerful and how positive and how funny he was all the time and I know I'd rather be like him than be such a brat all the time.

There's a little store on the ranch where you can buy food to put in the cabin and everything and my mom sent me out to go and get something to cook for dinner tonight. I'm wandering around with my earphones in and trying to reach up to the highest shelf to get some pasta when I see a hand reach past me and get it for me. I take out an earphone and turn around. Jack's stood there, holding out the pasta and smiling. This is a dream, I swear.

"Oh, thanks." I laugh a little. I can tell my cheeks are bright red again. 

"No problem." he smiles and then starts walking with me. I get the weirdest feeling around him, I'm excited to see him and flattered that he's even talking to me but at the same time I want it to be over before I can embarrass myself. "So are you cooking tonight?" 

"Not me personally." I say and he chuckles. 

"Well I was going to suggest you and your family come to dinner tonight. I haven't seen you guys there yet."

He means the dinner that's on for the whole ranch every night, it's like a little restaurant really. I don't really know why we haven't gone, Mom and Natalie are just obsessed with our cabin I guess, but if Jack's at the little restaurant every night then I'm definitely going to try and persuade Mom and Nat more often.

"Yeah, I'll ask them." I tell him and he grins. 

"Great. Well maybe I'll see you there then." he says. 

He leaves and I just stand there and sigh. I wonder what's happened to me. I've never been this giggly and shy when I've liked a boy. I'm like a completely different person purely because of some random attractive guy who I don't even actually know. I try to tell myself I'm being stupid but I still manage to overthink the fact that he wanted my family to go tonight. Was there something more to that? Probably not. He was probably just being nice because he works here. Not that that stops me from being a hundred times more obsessed.


I look myself over in the mirror five minutes before we're going to dinner. I'm wearing a summer dress because even though it's evening it's still so hot out. My hair is usually brown but it's a little more on the blonde side because of the sun. I'm not wearing makeup because it's so hot I feel like it'll all just fade off but maybe I should have made more of an effort? What if this is my chance to make an impression on him? My mom calls me to tell me it's time to go and I can't help but laugh at myself. I'm making such a big deal out of such a little thing, it's stupid. 

I know it's stupid but I'm still completely self conscious when he comes over to our table at dinner. 

"Hey you guys!" he says, smiling the friendliest smile I've ever seen. "I'm glad you came. Is everything good?" 

"Everything's wonderful thank you Jack!" Mom beams. That's the look on her face she gets when a young person is polite to her because in her mind all young people are social media obsessed robots. "We loved the horse back riding the other day!"

"Oh, I'm glad to hear it!" he says, taking a seat beside Natalie. "It's really pretty out there isn't it? Proper lessons like that are only on Tuesdays and Fridays but if you guys ever want to take the horses out just let me know, I'd be happy to let you."

"That's very kind of you!" Mom says. "Are you sure that's okay?" 

"Well Jasmine's a natural so I'm sure you'd be in safe hands." he grins at me and my cheeks flush red yet again. I should have worn makeup. 

"She's good isn't she?" Natalie looks at me all proud. "You were saying how you wanted to get back into it, weren't you?" 

I frown. I haven't been saying that at all. She raises her eyebrows at me and I just raise my eyebrows. "Uh, yeah, I was."

"It's been so long since she's done it, she's a little rusty." Natalie tells Jack and he looks to me. 

"Well I'd be happy to give you some one on one lessons, just let me know and we'll get you out there." he smiles again. 

"Oh that sounds good, thank you." I smile back. 

"Right, I'd better get back to my family, it was good to see you guys." he gives us a little wave as he walks away. I look straight to Natalie who is just looking down at her plate, completely smug. 


"You're welcome." she says and I can't help but laugh. Sometime's with her it's just like having a second mother and sometimes it's like having a sister. If this is what happens when she acts like my sister than I definitely prefer it.


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