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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16. Sixteen

I'm in town with Mom and Nat before I go to Jacks' for dinner one day and I spot this CD that Cassie was talking about a couple of days ago. She was saying that she wanted it but was too busy to go out and get it so I buy it for her. Hopefully I kind of got on her good side by dropping out of dinner with Jack the other night and hopefully this helps more. Like Jack said, she's his best friend really. I want to get along with her.

I have to say I'm pretty pleased with myself that night and pretty excited when all of us are sat in the living room. 

"Cassie." I say and I'm pretty sure this is the only time either of us have started a conversation with the other. She looks at me both surprised and unimpressed. I grab my bag and pull the CD out. "Uh, I got you this, I know you wanted it."

She takes it from me, looks at it and just puts it to the side without another word. My heart sinks. 

"Cassie." Jack frowns. 

"Mhm?" she says.

"That was so rude, say thank you." he says and she laughs, shaking her head. 

"I'm not saying thank you." there's a smile on her face but it's got a sharp kind of edge to it. "Honestly, I've never met a more annoying person in my life. I don't like her, that's that. You may think she's this angel but I know she's just another bitch who isn't going to care how much she hurts you, once this summer is over she is gone and I know that for a fact."

"Cassie!" Mike exclaims but she ignores him.

"What annoys me more is that even though I know what's going on, you're not going to listen to me, you're going to listen to the pretty girl who lets you call her your girlfriend for a couple of months. So no, I couldn't care less about her shitty little CD because it's just a pathetic attempt to get on my good side when I have no reason to trust her."

That was the most hurtful thing that's ever been aimed at me and I don't want to make a big deal out of it but that was cruel. I can't help crying and I don't want to sit here and cry in front of the whole family so I get up. 

"I've got to go." I say stupidly. 

"Oh honey, don't go." Laura frowns. 

"Thanks for having me." I manage and leave the room, grabbing my coat. 

"Cassie, you're a real bitch." Jack says, following me. I act like I didn't notice him getting up because I don't want to have a conversation with him about this. I'd rather just act like it didn't happen. I barely get away from the house and he's already caught up with me. "Jas, stop."

"I'm okay." I say, trying to sound cheerful but I'm clearly crying. I wish I wasn't so hurt by what she said but I am. It hurts that someone dislikes me that much for no reason and it hurts that she thinks I would ever want to hurt Jack because it's truly the last thing I'd want to do.

"No you're not okay, come here." he grabs my wrist and turns me to face him. He sighs when he sees how much I'm crying. "Jas, I'm so sorry."

"I just don't get it." I say as he pulls me close to him. "I get that maybe you've been hurt but that doesn't mean I'm the same. I know she's protective and that's good-"

"Don't defend her. She doesn't deserve it."

I sigh, pulling back. "It's just hurtful because it couldn't be further from the truth. I really, truly care about you, I'd never just act like you didn't exist, even when we're both back home."

"I believe you." he promises. "Jasmine, don't listen to a word she says. She's just overprotective and jealous."

"I'm sorry." I say, wiping my eyes. "I know it must be hard for you, me and her not getting along."

"I couldn't care less about her right now." he closes his eyes, leaning his forehead against mine. "I never want to talk to her again."

"That's not true." I say. 

"It feels like it. I swear, I hate her."

"You don't." I say and he stays quiet. 

He ends up coming to stay the night at mine because I suggested it would be best to let things cool off. Plus, it surprised me how genuinely uncomfortable I felt letting him go back somewhere where he'd be upset. It's the first time I've felt truly protective over him and obviously I don't like that he's upset but it did feel good to care about him that way. It feels genuine. 

My family were surprisingly okay with him staying the night. I thought I was pushing it by asking if he could stay in my room but they were okay with it and even though we're not in the best moods, it's nice being here with him, just in the quiet for once. 

"I might just join your family." he murmurs. 

"Yeah?" I pull the covers up a little more. "I'd like that. We'll just get married, it'll be cool."

He chuckles. "Maybe marriage is never such a good idea, spending so much time with one person. I mean, look at me and Cassie. I've never known life without her and I hate her. I've only known you for a month and I love you."

My breathing hitches a little. I don't know if he just said love as an opposite to hate or whether he meant it or what. I hadn't even thought about what to do if this happened. Do I say it back? I can't just say it back as something to say if I don't mean it. But I think I would mean it. I feel like that's crazy, I can't love him, it's just some strong infatuation, but when I consider it being just a fling I feel like I'm lying. I think I do love him. 

"I love you." he murmurs. "Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think I am."

"I think I love you too." I tell him and he smiles, pulling me closer to him. Maybe I was so hurt by what Cassie said because I was scared by the thought of it being true but there's no way what she said could ever be true. I don't know how it'll work with him and I living so far apart but I do know that we'll figure it out somehow.

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