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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7. Seven

It's of course really sweet seeing Jack with the kids at the party. I've never been good with children, I'm just awkwardly trying to show them what to do and talking more to their parents than them but he's cute, letting them sit on the big horses as well as ride the ponies and he's showing them what to do and praising them a lot. The kids all love him, all I can hear for the whole couple of hours is 'Jack!'. 

"Your insanely good with kids." I tell him, helping him lead all the ponies back to their stables.

"I've got younger sisters and a kid brother." he explains. "Have you got any siblings?" 

"Nah." I say. "I always wanted them though. Like a protective big brother or a sister to steal from or something."

He laughs. "See, I think protective big brothers are great but apparently not according to my sisters."

He's protective. He just gets sweeter and sweeter. 

"Are you the oldest then?" I ask him. 

"Joint with Cassie." he tells me. 

"You're twins?" 

"Yeah." he chuckles, shaking his head. "A twin sister. A twin brother would have been so much fun but what's the point in a twin sister?" 

I laugh. "She seems nice though." Complete lie. I think she hates me. 

"Nice isn't the word I'd use to describe her but she's my sister and we're close so I put up with her." he says as we put the last pony away. He turns and smiles at me. "Alright, that's it then. Thank you for your help."

"I'm not sure how much help I was but you're welcome." I say and he laughs a little as I start walking away. 

As I walk away I feel all warm inside. It's not like that was the most thought provoking conversation ever but it was really nice to talk about his family with him. It's really nice to talk about anything with him. I feel like I'm falling deeper and faster with every new fact I learn about him. He's no longer just some guy, he's him, and I like him.

"Jasmine!" he calls after me and I turn around. He kind of looks awkward for the first time ever. I feel like he was going to say something else but he just stands there catching his breath.

"Hey." 

"Hey." he says, laughing a little at himself. "Uh, you wouldn't want to go out with me some time would you?"

Butterflies. All I feel is butterflies and not in the sweet, romantic way, in the I'm going to pass out way.

"I mean, it doesn't have to be like a date." my breathing goes back to normal. "I was just thinking we could perhaps go out into Nashville, I could show you around a little. It's a little while away but I know the ranch can get a little dull and you're here for the whole summer so I just thought that might be nice. Maybe." 

"I'd like that." I smile and he seems to relax, smiling back. 

"Okay. Do you want to go tonight?" he asks. I do want to go tonight but I don't know how Nat and Mom would feel about me going out at night in a city we don't know, even with Jack. Plus, they haven't said anything but I'm not sure they're thrilled with the amount of time I'm spending with him. It's not that it's him, it's just that I haven't been with them for the past two days when this is a family vacation. But we're here for two months, they can't be too mad can they?

"Yeah, tonight sounds good." I tell him. "I need to hang out with my family for a little but how's six?" 

"Six sounds great." he grins.

*

I don't know how to bring it up to my family. I've been extra attentive all afternoon, getting them drinks and joining in with the conversation a lot and suggesting plans for tomorrow. It gets to five o'clock and I know I need to ask them if I can go. 

"So guys." I say casually as we wash up the dishes. "Are we doing anything tonight?" 

"Oh no, I think we're going to cook tonight and just stay in." Mom says, passing me a cup to dry. 

"Oh right. It's just that Jack invited me to go into Nashville to look around, is it okay if I go?" 

There's a silence that must only last for three seconds but it feels like an eternity. 

"I'm not sure how I feel about you going off into a city we don't know." Nat says. I knew it. 

"Jack knows it though! You like Jack, you know I'll be fine with him."

"Alright." my Mom says, nodding. "You're right. It's not like you're going on a date with some weirdo."

"Oh, it's not a date." I say but then I start wondering. Is it? He said it didn't have to be a date but does that mean he wanted it to be a date? I have no clue anymore.

I realise as I'm getting ready to go that night that everything is too stressful with boys. First of all I don't even know if this is a date. Do I bring money or not? Then I don't know what to wear because I'd wear something different if it was a date than I would if it wasn't. But I don't know what to wear either way. I decide to dress as if it was a date because at least then I won't look like I didn't try. I still don't know what to wear though. I know I shouldn't dress according to what he might like, I should wear what I like, but I obviously want to impress him. In the end I go with quite a short skirt but a casual sweater, hoping they balance each other out. 

As soon as I see Jack waiting I feel so stupid for worrying about half the stuff I worried about. As if he's going to be judgmental enough to think too much about what I'm wearing or think I'm stupid for bringing money if it does turn out to be a date or anything like that. He's just showing me around Nashville. I didn't need to make such a big deal out of everything.

"Hey." he smiles at me, opening the passenger door for me. "How are you?"

"I'm good thanks, how are you?" I ask as we both get into the car. 

"I'm good also thank you."

The drive over is nice. We listen to music and chat and even though we're not talking about a lot, it's pretty effortless which makes me like him even more. We decide to get dinner first because we're both hungry and he suggests a restaurant. When we get there it's not fancy, it's a really relaxed place which I'm thankful for. 

"I'm sorry I didn't make more of an effort." he says, looking at my outfit as we sit down. "I was babysitting until five minutes before I picked you up.."

"Oh don't worry." I laugh a little. Like he needs to make an effort. "Who were you babysitting?" 

"Just my little brother, he's three. I'm pretty sure everyone else can look after themselves, they're eleven and fourteen and eighteen."

I wince. "An eleven year old girl and a fourteen year old girl under the same roof? That cannot be fun."

He laughs. "Not at all. Especially when we're out here. At least in Knoxville they can go out with their friends and stuff but here, they're stuck. Throw Cassie in there and one bathroom and it's a disaster."

"I'm the only teenage girl in my house and even that's a disaster." I laugh and he gasps. 

"There is no way you're a bratty teenager! No way." 

"Hate to break it to you." I wince. "I've had temper tantrums about boyfriends, slammed doors and just have a general bad attitude."

"I refuse to believe that." he shakes his head and then smiles at me. "How old are you anyway?"

I feel a little nervous. What if this is where he decides he has no interest in me whatsoever? 

"Uh, I'm sixteen." I tell him and he bursts out laughing. 

"Why do you look so uncomfortable telling me that?" he grins.

"Because!" I can't help laughing at myself. "I don't know, you're eighteen right?" he nods. "What eighteen year old wants to hang out with a sixteen year old?"

"I want to hang out with you!" he objects. "I don't care how old you are, you're still nice and fun to be around."

There it is. I'm bright red. I was hoping to avoid this. 

"Well I'm glad you don't care about age because I'm actually forty seven." I shrug. "That cool?" 

He bursts out laughing. "That might be pushing it. Alright, what do you want to order?" 

Throughout the entire evening, the dinner and walking around the city and everything, we never discuss whether it's a date or not but it does feel like one. He pays for dinner and is always opening doors and he even seems a little nervous at times, as do I. I don't know, it just feels that way. 

He walks me to my door when he drops me off and that must mean it was a date right? I have no clue anymore but I don't mind, it was like the perfect night. 

"Thank you." I smile up at him. "I had a really nice time."

"Me too." he smiles and it's quiet for a moment but not in an awkward way. "Maybe I'll see you tomorrow?" 

"Yeah."

"Okay." he says, still smiling. 

"Okay." I say as well.

"See you tomorrow."

"See you."

"Alright."

I laugh at him, opening the door . "Night."

"Night." he chuckles, walking back to his car.

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