The girl abruptly turned around and surprised Jackson by taking paint and smearing it across his face. The boy jumped back in shock and immediately tried to wipe it off. That only resulted in him getting paint on his hands. Emily was laughing uncontrollably at Jackson’s reaction, and she was slowly inching her way closer to the door. She knew he would come after her, so she wanted to be as close to the exit as possible. Jackson jumped towards her, and she bolted out of the room. She clambered down the steps – nearly tripping over Joe – and escaped outside. The boy, of course, chased after her. Em ran for the safety of the barn, but once she got in there she realized it wasn’t the smartest idea. Jackson knew the barn better than she did; that meant he knew every hiding spot. So once Emily entered the building, she slightly panicked and didn’t know where to go. This gave Jackson time to catch up to her and grab her. Her wrapped his arms around her waist and picked her up, throwing Em over his shoulder. The girl screeched and then started laughing. Jackson was stronger than her, so there was no point in trying to fight him. He carried her over to a corner of the barn and set her down but didn’t let go of her.
Jackson stared in to Emily’s gray eyes and, for the first time, didn’t find sadness. He saw a sparkle of happiness, which warmed his heart. In Jackson’s eyes, Em saw love. That was something she had never found in Zach’s eyes. He always looked at her with lust, but Jackson didn’t. Emily found kindness and comfort in the boy’s eyes. She felt home and whole. Jackson removed one hand from the girl’s waist and brought it to her cheek. He gently guided his rough hand behind Em’s neck, and slightly tilted her head back. His thumb rubbed her cheek as he brought his face closer to hers. Emily froze, not really knowing what to do. Of course she had been kissed before, but Jackson was a completely knew person; plus, she had actual feelings for him. Eventually, his soft lips grazed over hers, and Em released the breath she was holding. The boy slightly pulled away and looked the girl in the eyes. A smile spread across both of their lips, and then they kissed again. Emily wrapped her arms around Jackson’s strong body, feeling his muscles under her hands. He had a hand gently resting on Em’s waist and a hand supporting her neck. They felt perfectly comfortable together. Emily was no longer scared or nervous; she felt confident.