Having my feelings on display was never something I enjoyed. Quite the opposite, really. I had always been reserved, using an icy persona to keep people at arm's length. To this, there was only one exception: Jack.
Right from the start, Jack had seemed so determined to tear down my walls, brick by brick. He had added himself to my plans, walked me to every class, and even went as far as showing up to my house with snacks and insisting we watch a movie. Jack, that cocky, annoying, arrogant, immature boy, was the love of my life. He was my everything.
"I saw that, Elsa." Jack laughed, snapping me from my thoughts. "You were totally checking me out."
I felt my face flush as I realized I had been lost in thought while staring at him. I loved that boy and he knew it. Furthermore, he never wasted a moment to taunt me about it. He never let me hide my emotions, not even with this. In fact, Jack seemed determined to constantly remind me how hopelessly in love with him I was.
"I wasn't," I mumbled slightly, trying to avoid Jack's gaze as I continued to copy down notes from the board. Jack had insisted we make our senior year schedules as similar as possible because, according to him, I couldn't go long without him.
"You did." Jack smiled coyly, still staring at me.
I felt my eyes roll, a frequent occurrence with Jack. How could I love someone this obnoxious? I supposed the line between love and hate really was a thin one.
"So, what are you doing after school today?" Jack asked. He didn't notice Mr. North had realized we were having a conversation and was glaring at him. Or maybe Jack had noticed and just didn't care.
Regardless, I shushed Jack, ignoring his question entirely in order to try and focus on the lecture happening. In all honesty, though, there was no need to. Jack and I had taken this class simply for the credit. It was an astronomy class which is something we both had learned last year as our science teacher loved astronomy and worked it into many lessons.
I noticed Jack was pouting and I couldn't help but think he looked adorable as he did so. He could be so immature. The class would be over soon anyway.
As if the bell had aligned itself with my thoughts, it suddenly let out a ring, causing all the students to quickly place their belongings into their bags and scurry out.
"Now, before I was so rudely interrupted," Jack began, faking a glare. "I asked you a question."
I smiled in spite of myself. "I'm not doing anything tonight." When did I ever have plans? Jack was basically my only friend. With my younger sister, Anna, visiting our cousin Rapunzel for a few months, I only had Jack.
"You are now!" Jack grinned.
He always kept me from feeling alone. Even though I didn't thank him out loud, I was sure he knew how grateful I was.
"And what is it I'm doing tonight exactly?" I asked as we continued our walk to french class.
"Watching movies with me of course. I'll be over at 4."
I was about to respond when we arrived to class.
"Bonjour!" Our teacher, Miss. Tooth, greeted cheerfully.
"Bonjour." Jack and I returned in unison.
"If you two just want to practice french at your desks for a bit, that would be great." She smiled widely as I nodded.
Jack and I took our seats next to each other and began pulling out our french notebooks.
"Je t'aime." Jack told me.
My notebook fell to the floor as I shot my head up to look at him. I felt my face warm considerably and my heart fluttered. Je t'aime. Why would he blurt that out so randomly?
I noticed Jack was lightly chuckling, only increasing my heart rate.
"You're blushing so hard, all I did was say 'I love you' in French."
All he did? Why was he saying that like it wasn't a big deal? I turned my head away from him, hating that my face was still burning hot. I didn't know why I wasn't used to this by now. All he ever did was mess with my head. It was like he enjoyed the reaction he got from my humiliation. Somehow though, that was still better than him rejecting me.
"Els?" Jack asked. "Why aren't you responding? We're supposed to be practicing French."
Oh, that was what he was doing: practicing. Of course, he chose to practice confessing love. "Je t'aime aussi." I mumbled. "Let's practice something else now."
I picked up my notebook off the floor, flipping to some of our newer concepts. I just needed to get lost in the material.
3:30. Only thirty more minutes until Jack would arrive. I glanced around the living room again, as if it would somehow be messy even though I was the only one living here right now. Even when my parents were here rather than on a business trip, I knew it would still be like I was alone. Anna, however, was very noticeable. The house had been so quiet since she left.
I shook my head slightly, trying to focus again on the task at hand. Jack had been here many times and yet I got nervous each time. I headed back upstairs to my room. I didn't need to fix this room as Jack didn't come up here. What I needed to fix was myself.
I glanced into the mirror. Would it be too obvious if I changed my outfit? I doubted Jack would think much of it.
What to wear was the question. I glanced at my wardrobe. Which outfit would Jack like? I knew his favorite color was blue. Perhaps something blue.
I pulled off my school clothes, tossing them in the laundry pin when a sudden ring occurred. That ring was followed by another and then another one. I glanced at my phone. 3:42. He was early. Crap.
I rarely opened the door for Jack. He would ring the doorbell a thousand times and then just let himself in. Normally I would be waiting for him in the living room.
"Els!" I heard Jack shout from downstairs. "Els, where are you?"
"Um," I began, glancing in the mirror and realizing I was standing here in only a bra and panties. "I, um, I'll be down in a second!"
I grabbed out a blue t-shirt dress, forcing it onto my body. I glanced in the mirror again; I had taken my hair out of my braid and hadn't had time to braid it again yet.
"You're so beautiful." A voice came from behind me.
I turned around to be met with blue eyes and snow-white hair.
"You're teasing me again." I mumbled. My face warmed like I'm sure he wanted it to.
Jack didn't say anything, however. His eyes seemed fixed on me as I stood there awkwardly.
"I like your hair down." He took a few steps towards me, reaching his hand out to grab my hair. "It's so soft."
I felt the overwhelming urge to lean into his touch. His body was so close to mine; I wanted to close the distance. Instead, I just stared at him as he played with my hair. The small smirk on his face told me he knew the effect this proximity was having on me.
I scooted back slightly. It was then I realized he had come up to my room. Oh no.
"What's wrong?" He asked. "Are you-"
Jack stopped, glancing around for the first time. "This room is so you."
I always kept my door locked, even Anna wasn't allowed in here. This room was a safe place. Everything I held dear to me was here. It was me. I stared at Jack, studying his reaction. I should have been upset he was seeing it. I admit, I felt exposed. Still, it was as if I liked that he was the one here.
Slowly, Jack was making his way around the room. He was studying everything, narrating it for himself. "A french poster, huh? 'Petit a petit, l'oiseau fait son nid'." He turned to me. "What does that mean again?"
"Little by little, the bird makes its nest." I translated shyly.
"Perseverance and patience." He noted. Jack smiled as he kept looking at it. "Perfect for you."
Jack continued smiling as he sat down on my bed. "You have lots of pictures of Anna in here." I nodded. "None of you though."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "I'm in some of the photos with Anna."
Jack shrugged slightly. "You're so gorgeous. If I were you, I'd want more photos of you by yourself. The room is beautiful but that would make it even better, especially with the blue walls. It will bring out your eyes."
I couldn't understand how Jack was able to say things like that so effortlessly. I supposed it was just one of the many differences between us: I was always flustered and he never was.
I turned to Jack only to realize he was looking at my nightstand now. It was a small, white table, with a few objects placed on top: A light blue clock, a small wooden box Anna had given me with my name engraved into it, and a picture of me and Jack.
I buried my face in my hands. How had I forgotten about that?
"It's us." Jack picked up the photo, staring down at it.
A couple of months ago, Jack had stolen my phone and began taking selfies of us. After looking at them later, I couldn't resist getting this one printed. In the photo, Jack was staring at me, laughing happily while I too laughed, looking at nothing. Jack brought out my carefree side and this photo captured it so perfectly.
"I like the frame." He chuckled, tracing the wooden frame.
I giggled nervously. "It's the only one I had." I lied. The frame was a small wooden one with hearts acting as the border.
"It's cute." He placed it down. "We'd make a great couple."
Glancing down at the floor, I felt my heart flutter. "Stop saying stuff like that." He never meant it.
Jack gave me a puzzled look before sighing. "You make things too difficult."
His tone was suddenly cold and the intensity of his gaze startled me.
I felt myself choking back tears. "I make things difficult?" I clenched my fist. "You're the one who constantly uses my feelings against me! You think I like being humiliated." A few tears had slowly begun to slip from my eyes. "I'm not difficult, you are. You make it so difficult for me just because I love you."
I stopped, realizing the words that had just left my mouth. I suddenly felt lightheaded. I sat down next to Jack, avoiding his gaze entirely. My face had gone scarlet, as usual. It was different this time though. This time it wasn't Jack exposing my love to the world, it was me.
"Els?" His voice was soft again. "Els, look at me."
I lifted my gaze hesitantly, surprised to find a look of concern on his face. "I didn't mean to make you cry." He told me. Jack scooted close, wrapping his arms around me. "I'm sorry."
My heart was racing as I sat in his embrace. It was so warm. I just wanted this moment to last forever. I wanted to ignore the words I just said.
"You actually love me, huh?" Jack suddenly leaned back, pulling me with him. We laid together on my bed, both staring at the ceiling. "Seems too good to be true."
I turned to him in confusion. He didn't say anything else though. Instead, he just pulled me closer to him, a small smile on his lips.
I woke up to someone gently running their fingers through my hair. I felt my eyes flutter open.
Above me, Jack was smiling down, one hand in my hair and the other one propping him up over my body.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" He asked suddenly. "I want to see you again tomorrow."
Normally Jack just showed up whenever he wanted. Why was he asking? On top of that, why did he sound so sincere? And why wasn't he making a bigger deal out of my confession?
"I, um," Jack was so close to me, his breath sending shivers through my body. "I can't tomorrow."
"You can't?" He asked.
"I am showing Kristoff around town."
"Kristoff?" Jack's eyes narrowed slightly.
"Yeah, he's the son of one of my parent's business partners. He lives near Rapunzel so Anna and I normally visit him there. This is his first time coming to Arendelle so my parents want me to make him feel welcome."
I pulled out my phone, scrolling through my gallery. "This is him." I directed my phone towards Jack to show him the photo. Kristoff was a bulky blond and in this particular photo he was in the middle of Anna and I, smiling awkwardly.
"Is he staying here?" Jack asked.
I nodded. "If you wanted to come over later in the day you could though. He wouldn't mind."
Jack sat up on the bed, his fist clenched. All of a sudden he seemed so angry. "You and him will be alone all day?"
"I guess so. Why does-" I stopped, studying Jack. "Wait, you're jealous, aren't you?"
For the first time ever, a slight blush tinted Jack's cheeks as he averted his eyes. "I'm not jealous!"
"What if I told you that my parents are hoping their daughter gets married to him."
"Married!" It was weird to see how truly outraged Jack seemed by the idea of me marrying someone.
If he was jealous though then wouldn't that mean he liked me. Jack was well aware of the fact I was head over heels for him so why wouldn't he have told me the truth?
Then I realized something. I was doing exactly what Jack did. I was wording things in a way that made it seem like Kristoff and I were romantically involved. "I'm not that daughter." I admitted.
I had said that because I liked seeing his reaction. I liked that he might have feelings for me. It made me feel powerful, less scared of my own emotions.
"Anna is dating him." I explained. "Now my parents hope they will get married. Anna should be the one showing him around Arendelle but since she isn't here the task goes to me."
"When were you going to tell me, Jack?" I asked softly.
He gave me a puzzled expression.
"All this time you've spent using my emotions to humiliate me. All the times you worded things in ways that made me blush or stutter. All the times it seemed you were making fun of me for having feelings for you, you never once told me you felt the same way."
The boy averted his eyes and I realized now he was positively crimson. "I don't-" He stopped, a look of fear in his eyes.
I felt myself pushing it more. "A couple of hours ago I told you I love you and you said nothing back."
"Els." His voice was meek, barely even a whisper. "I know I'm not good at this."
"Why didn't you tell me?" All this time he had been acting the way he had not to mock me but because he enjoyed the fact I liked him. It was because he liked me too.
Jack buried his face into his knees, not saying anything for a while. "I love you."He whispered softly.
I stared at him in surprise as he lifted his head.
"I love you, okay!" Jack glanced down at the floor. "Just don't laugh."
Throughout my time with Jack, it had always been me who was afraid to voice my feelings. How could Jack have been this afraid to tell me his?
"I love you too."
Neither of us said anything else for a while, both of us just staring at nothing.
Slowly, I turned to face him on the bed, deciding to do what I had wanted to for so long. I closed my eyes and began leaning in. Please kiss back.
I sat there for what felt like an eternity before I felt hesitant lips place themselves on my own.
At first, the kiss was light until Jack placed his hands around my waist while mine found their way to his hair.
The kiss deepened, our feelings pouring out as we conveyed them all without any words. I pushed my lips harder against his, nearly pushing him off the bed in the process.
"I love you." I told him again as we broke away.
A small blush tinted Jack's cheeks as he stared into my eyes. "I love you too."