viii | basketball talk

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HAZEL CLAPPED HER hands together as she watched Jack sink another shot, the curly haired boy turning to her and smiling when she popped another french fry in her mouth

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HAZEL CLAPPED HER hands together as she watched Jack sink another shot, the curly haired boy turning to her and smiling when she popped another french fry in her mouth. He shook his head, water from his earlier shower falling off the still damp curls. He walked over, taking a seat on the other side of the food she'd put on the bleacher seat next to her. There was a wax paper sheet underneath it, don't worry.

"You're amazing, you know that?" Jack told her before biting into his burger, watching her smile gently and look down at her lap, tucking her hair behind her ears.

"Shut up. I was hungry anyway." She said, shaking her head and popping another french fry in her mouth. Jack chuckled and put down the now half-eaten burger, seeing her wrap up the remains of her food and put it back in the paper bag she had. "Well now I have energy." Hazel grinned and got up, picking the basketball off of the ground.

"You know, I don't think I've seen you play basketball since freshman year." Jack commented. He got up from the bench and crossed his arms, standing to the side and watched her line up her shot.

"Well..." Hazel shot the ball into the air, missing the hoop by a long shot. "You haven't missed anything." Jack laughed as she went after the ball, jogging back over with it in her hands.

She looked at him for a moment and Jack cocked his head to the side, confused as she pursed her lips. "Hey, the twins are having a party this weekend, just a campfire in the backyard. do you want to go with me?" She asked and there was a small, hopeful smile on her face.

Jack bit his lip for a moment and shrugged. "Sure, why not?" He said, a grin slipping onto his face. At least now the party meant a good thing for him, he got to spend time with someone he cared about. But something was still bugging him.

"Why do you want to go to this party so badly? You've never liked parties like that." Jack asked, catching the ball when she tossed it to him, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth.

"Harvey said I should go, that it could be fun." Hazel shrugged and stuffed her hands in her pockets. She was nervous again. "And you don't have a life, so I want to go with you."

Jack's cheeks warmed and he chuckled, looking at the ball in his hands. "That was almost sweet." He said, smiling at the shorter girl who rolled her eyes in response.

"You know what's also sweet?" She asked, a smirk tugging at her lips and she quickly snatched the ball out of his hands and turned, starting to run down the court to the side where the doors were.

Jack shook his head, a laugh leaving his lips. He raced after her and thankfully, for him, he was faster. He put his arms around her waist and held her back, picking her up nearly as fast.

"Stop, you jerk!" Hazel squealed and grabbed his arms, throwing her head back in laughter. Jack laughed and put her down, turning her in his arms. She put her hands on his shoulders and giggled, a smile spreading across her lips while the ball bounced away unnoticed.

Jack got lost in that moment, just the smile on her lips and twinkle in her eyes caught him and he knew deep in his heart he wasn't going to be let go. He felt sparks going through him where she touched him and it sent his heart into a frenzy.

I like Hazel.

The thought left just as quickly as it came, but then it came back, and it wasn't leaving. I like her.

Thankfully he snapped out of his realization quickly. He removed his arms from Hadel's waist before his gaze flickered to her forehead, a smile tugging at his lips when he used the good of his fingers and brushed the hairs out of her face.

"Thought I lost you there for a second, J." Hazel's quiet laugh came out sounding almost nervous as she reached up and moved her hair away herself, brown-eyes gaze not leaving Jack's.

"Come on, you know you can't lose me that easily." He chuckled and put his hands in his jean pockets, shifting his weight on his feet nervously while his gaze went to the floor, trying to push away every pigment of pink in his cheeks.

Hazel bit her lip for a moment and looked over at the clock, sighing and turning back to him. "It's getting late... give me a ride home?" She asked with a sweet smile returning to her face, one that made Jack's earlier efforts useless.

"Yeah, of course." He nodded again and the two walked back over to the bleachers, picking up their stuff (Jack had grabbed most of his from the locker room earlier). Hazel swung her bag over her shoulder and with one hand picked up the bag with their nearly-gone food in it, the other one holding onto Jack's and pulling him out of the gym.

Jack barely had time to put his backpack on before she broke off into a run, watching her laugh gently while still holding onto his hand.

Yeah. I like her.

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