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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17. Seventeen

I'm on the phone to Jack one afternoon, a few days after the Cassie incident.

"I literally haven't said a word to her." he tells me. 

"Seriously?" I say. 

"Of course I haven't. I'm not the one who needs to apologise."

I hesitate. "I mean, I get if she didn't like the CD."

"Jasmine." he says bluntly and I sigh. I know that wasn't the only problem but I don't like when they don't talk. It makes me uncomfortable, like it's my fault. 

"I know. It's just girlfriends shouldn't come before family, blood is thicker than water and all that." 

"It's not always." he says. "This isn't your fault you know? It's-"

I hear a shout in the background then and Jack must not have the phone up to his ear anymore because I can just make out his voice sounding urgent. He comes back to the phone, sounding a little out of breath. 

"My mom's water just broke." he says. "Oh god, I've got to go."

"Go!" I laugh, excited. "Call me when anything happens!"

"I will." he laughs too and then hangs up. 

*

I have been a little worried for the past few days about us telling each other we loved each other. I've been worried that maybe I don't love him and I just think I do but there's no doubt in my mind that it's love when I get to the hospital later on and he's outside the hospital room with tears in his eyes because he's so excited. I don't know what it is but I feel so endeared to him. I'll never get over how genuinely sensitive he is, how genuinely good. 

"Hey." I laugh, pulling him into a hug. "Is the baby here?" 

"Yeah, he was born a couple of hours ago and he's the most precious little thing!" he says, his voice shaking. He pulls away and smiles at me. "You're right, this is exciting. Do you want to see him?"

"Of course." I say and he takes my hand as we go into the room. Everybody's in there, all crowding around Laura who's of course in bed holding the baby. I'm kind of worried that I'm intruding on a family moment and she's not really going to want me here when she's just given birth but she looks genuinely happy to see me. 

"Jasmine, I'm so glad you're here!" she exclaims. 

"Congratulations!" I say.

"Thank you." she smiles and looks at Jack. "Come get him."

Jack goes over and my heart aches as he's so careful getting the baby out of Laura's arms and he doesn't take his eyes off him as he walks over to me. 

"Do you want to hold him?" he asks quietly. 

"I don't trust myself." I laugh a little as I look at the baby. I don't know what it is about babies that is just so special but something is. Even Cassie couldn't care less about me in the moment, everybody's just calm and happy and I love it. It's just crazy to think he knows nothing at all, he's been alive for a matter of hours.

"He's beautiful." I whisper and Jack looks up at me, a little smile on his face.

"I love you." he murmurs, leaning forward to kiss my forehead. 

"I love you." 

"Oh my god!" Lilly squeals. "They said love! They're in love!"

"Lil." Jack chuckles, shaking his head. 

"You're for sure going to get married." she says.

"Lilly, you're going to wake the baby." Cassie hushes her. At least she's not saying anything to me directly today. 

Hearing Lilly say they're in love felt like suddenly waking up from a dream. I've just sort of been going along with everything but this is the most surreal thing, I'm on vacation, I met a boy and I'm genuinely in love with him. At best I was hoping for a little summer fling and I thought even that was ambitious but this is something really serious. It sounds beyond cliche but there's something about seeing him holding the new baby and how excited and happy he is. It sounds intense but I can really see a future with him and I never saw myself feeling that with anybody at this age. I don't know how to deal with being in this deep and knowing we only have a few weeks like this left. 

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