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.


2. Two

It's the last Friday before summer and even though I'm trying to tone down the complaints at home, I don't put that much effort in at school and I'm pretty sure my best friends are ready to kill me. 

"Seriously though!" I say, bringing the whole vacation topic up for what must be the 30th time today. "I looked up the ranch. Nothing to do. We either ride horses, go on hikes, kayak or sit on the porch like old ladies."

"Yes you've said." Jake says, rolling his eyes at Millie. 

"Jasmine." Millie sighs. "Will you stop with the whole vacation thing? We get it, you don't want to go to Tennessee."

So I have to shut up at school as well and then by three pm the next day I'm at the ranch, hating life. Mom and Natalie keep talking about how pretty it is and how the sky is so clear and how we're going to get so much fresh air and I just keep quiet because I was always told that if I don't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all.

We get to the horses and my mood perks up a little when I see a guy in the paddock nearest to us. He's beautiful, tall and tan with dark brown curly hair. This is not the kind of person I was expecting to see here. We're stood there listening to the guy showing us around but my focus is all on the guy in the paddock. He glances up and catches my eye, the tiniest smile on his face, and I look away immediately. As we walk off, Natalie nudges me, a knowing smile on her face. 

"Not so awful here after all, hey?" 

"The weather is actually quite nice." I say all nonchalant but I have to say, this place is looking more appealing to me now.

That evening, Natalie's in bed and Mom's out on the porch. I take her out a cup of tea before I go to bed and she smiles. 

"Thanks sweetheart."

"You're welcome." I say, taking a seat beside her. It is nice out here at night, really calm. 

She looks at me for a moment. "I'm sorry Jasmine. I know you didn't really want to come here. Your aunt and I just wanted a change."

"No, I know, it's fine." I say. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do here for the entire summer but I'm trying to be a little more positive. 

"It's been 7 years since your dad died." she says and my stomach tightens. I hate talking about this. It gives me the kind of feeling in my stomach you get when you trip down the stairs but the feeling just carries on. "I don't know why 7 years seems so important. Maybe it's because you're sixteen. That's a big age, an age we always talked about together when you were a baby. I'm just missing him."

"I'm sorry Mom." I frown and she smiles at me a little. 

"Don't you think he'd love it here? We came to a place like this together once." she says, looking back out at all the hills. "Maybe that's why I was so drawn to it."

"Maybe." I say wistfully. I wish my dad was here. I wish I could have at least known him now. We were close but I wish he could have known me as the almost-adult that I am now because I feel like I'm now the kind of person I'm going to be for the rest of my life and I wish I knew him better. Maybe I should be taking advantage of being here, maybe I'll feel closer to him. I'd be thankful for that.

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