A Game Called Love

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Chapter 1

"Liam, Emma, I'm home!" I called as I walked through the front door.

Liam might not be home from work yet but from the amazing scent of cookies wafting through the house I could tell that Emma was. I followed the smell to the kitchen where I found her, sitting on a barstool at the kitchen island. She looked hilarious, her wild red hair was streaked with flour but somehow her apron was completely clean.

"Did you get into a cat fight with the flour?" I joked, hanging my backpack on the barstool beside her before taking a seat.

She gave me a sheepish smile, "The electric mixer went rogue."

I laughed out loud, somehow Emma always found herself in the weirdest situations.

"So how was school?" She asked, steering the topic of conversation away from her baking fail.

"It was fine, there's not much homework since it's the first day." I replied, thinking back to the scene I caused at lunch. I still can't believe I actually kissed the new guy, who's name I later learnt was Jacob Nash, and started the Three Kisses game.

I debated telling Emma about what I did, but I don't think she'd be very impressed. Even though she was the one to invent the game, and that's how she fell in love with my brother, I don't think she'd encourage anyone else to play it.

The ding of the oven brought me out of my thoughts and steered my attention in the direction of the delicious looking chocolate chip cookies Emma was carefully taking out.

"Those look good." I muttered, my mouth practically watering as the thought of tasting one of them.

She gave me an amused smile, "These are for later. We're having Liam's new business partner and his family over for dinner tonight. They're new to town, maybe you could make friends with their son, he's your age and I'm sure he would appreciate a friendly face at school."

My stomach dropped, there could only be one person Emma was talking about. Jacob. The guy I kissed today. I wasn't ready to face him again! I completely avoided him after lunch out of sheer embarrassment. He was in my last class of the day and I sat as far away from him as possible.

What if he brings up what happened at lunch in front of everyone? I'd seem like a creepy pervert to his parents! Of course Liam and Emma would know why I did what I did, but to outsiders I would look really bad.

"What's wrong?" Emma asked, snapping me out of my spiralling thoughts, her pretty blue eyes crinkled in concern.

C'mon Jenny make something up! Quick!

"Um, this new guy is super good looking, I need to go get ready!" I blurted, quickly leaving the kitchen without waiting for her response.

I didn't exactly lie, Jacob is absolutely hot, and I did need to make sure I looked good for the completely awkward night ahead of me.

I quickly padded up the stairs and straight to my room, trying to figure out what to wear. Was this a super formal dinner? Or just something casual and friendly? I should've asked but my mind was a little too preoccupied for that.

As I browsed through my closet I thought back to the kiss with Jacob. It was short and sweet, but it was missing something. There wasn't any butterflies in my stomach, or sparks. I expected it to be everything I hoped a kiss with the right person would be, but maybe that's not how it works. Maybe you really have to develop feelings for someone before the kiss feels extraordinary.

I've dated guys before, I've been trying to find love since I started high school, but all that dating never led to real feelings. I've had small crushes but even when I acted on them they never developed into anything more. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I'm just not meant to fall in love.

I sighed sadly as I picked out a light blue flowy long sleeve shirt and black leggings. The outfit was a mix of dressy and casual, and I decided that would have to do for dinner tonight since no one gave me a dress code to follow.

When I was dressed in my new outfit, I gave myself a one over in my bedroom mirror and nodded in approval. This shirt always made my eyes look bluer than usual, which I loved.

Next I parted my dark brown hair in the middle and ran a brush through it until it flowed in soft waves past my shoulders.

My makeup, which consisted of mascara, highlighter, and lip balm, was already done because I did it this morning for school, so I was officially ready for dinner.

I checked the time and saw that it was already five o'clock, Jacob and his parents should be here any minute.

For the millionth time since I started high school, I wished that I lived closer to the school so I didn't have to waste so much time in the morning and after school on the bus. By the time I get home it's four o'clock and even though that's only an hour after school ends, it feels like I'm being robbed of so much more time. If it didn't take so long to get home I'd have way more time to prepare myself for Jacob and the possibility of being completely humiliated in front of his parents.

I slowly exited my room and made my way downstairs, straining to hear any unfamiliar voices, but by the time I reached the first floor I knew the coast was clear. The Nash family hadn't arrived yet.

I caught sight of Liam in the living room and by the smells coming from the kitchen I knew he was alone because Emma was busy making dinner.

"Just in time, our guests should be here any second." Liam greeted when I plopped down on the couch beside him.

I took in his outfit, casual blue jeans and a black button up shirt, and sighed in relief. My outfit would be fine for tonight, it seems the dress code is causal but not too casual.

"You're not going to leave me alone with their son while you and Emma have "grown up time" with his parents, are you?" I asked, air quoting 'grown up time' because I wasn't a little kid anymore and I wouldn't ruin their adult talk. I don't understand why adults feel the need to shoo away anyone more than three years younger than them. We should be included, we're people too, just less wrinkled than them! Maybe they're just jealous of our youthful glow.

"Dinner will be ready soon, you wouldn't be alone with him for long if that does happen." Liam replied, giving me the answer I didn't want to hear.

I sighed and crossed my arms, not happy at all that I'd probably have to be alone with Jacob. Who knows what he might say or do? He'll probably just make fun of me.

The doorbell rang and caught my attention, making my stomach twist with nerves. I'm so not ready for this.

"Relax baby sister, they're nice people, you have nothing to worry about." Liam comforted me, ruffling my hair as he got up to answer the door.

"I'm not a baby anymore." I grumbled, following after him to greet our guests at the door like the polite girl I am. Maybe if I make a good first impression, Jacob's parents wouldn't believe him if he told them what happened at lunch.

"Roger, Amber, come on in!" Liam happily greeted them once he opened the door, stepping back to let them in.

"Nice seeing you as always Liam, this is my son Jacob." Roger greeted back as the Nash family filed into the house.

I was stunned by how good looking the whole family was. Roger had steel grey eyes, a strong jawline, and a perfectly straight nose, all of which Jacob inherited, the only difference between the two was their hair. Roger had jet black hair while Jacob's was blonde like his mother's.

Amber was so beautiful it almost hurt, her pin straight blonde hair was cut off at her shoulders, both stylish and business like, and her bright blue eyes were shielded by thick black eyelashes. Her lips were full and heart shaped, almost like Jacob's only his was more masculine.

Overall, the family deserved to have their own television show just based off of their looks alone.

"Jenny, this is Roger, Amber, and Jacob." Liam introduced.

"Hi." I greeted them, a small polite smile on my lips. I always hated introductions, they felt so forced and there was so much pressure to make a good first impression.

"Supper is just about ready, we just need to set the table." Emma spoke up before things could get quiet and awkward.

"Why don't Jenny and Jacob set the table while the rest of us get a drink." Liam suggested, sending a secret wink my way when no one was looking.

What a jerk! He knew I didn't want to be alone with Jacob and now he's the reason I'm about to be! I'm not surprised though, it's his job as a big brother to annoy me.

"Wonderful idea." Amber agreed, and then they all left for the basement where our bar was.

"Uh, the kitchen is this way." I muttered when Jacob and I were left standing there, completely alone.

He sent a knowing smile my way and gestured for me to lead the way.

Once in the kitchen, I silently showed him where all the cutlery and dishes were that we needed to set up, and then we got busy doing exactly that.

It wasn't a completely an uncomfortable silence as we set the table, but there was a lot of unanswered questions hanging in the air. I was just waiting for him to bring up the kiss at lunch. He has to at some point, right?

"You have a beautiful home." He finally spoke.

I could listen to that accent forever.

"Thanks." I replied, placing the last plate down.

Now that the table was set, there was nothing to distract me from talking to Jacob. But what would I say? Should I apologize to him for the kiss? Pretend like it never happened?

Thankfully the adults returned before I had to actually start up a conversation.

"The table looks good, now let's feast." Liam joked, disappearing into the kitchen with Emma to retrieve dinner.

Once all the food was set out, everyone took their seats.

Roger and Liam sat at the heads of the table, Amber and Emma sat beside their husbands on the same side of the table, which left me to sit across from Emma, with Liam to my left and Jacob to my right. Of course.

It was relatively quiet as everyone got their food, but once our plates were full the conversation began.

Everything started off fairly normal, the adults were just talking about work and other adult stuff, but then my brother just had to ruin it.

"So Jacob, how was your first day of school? Anything interesting happen?" Liam asked.

All eyes went to Jacob, and the guy had a fat smirk on his face.

Oh no.

"It was a good first day. Everyone was very friendly, I even kissed my first Canadian girl."

My mouth hung open and his mother gasped.

"Son, that's not dinner conversation." His dad scolded.

Jacob ignored him though, "It was so strange, the girl bumped into me and then just planted one on me. It was good though, I just wish it lasted longer." And as he said the last part his eyes found mine.

My cheeks heated under his gaze and I quickly looked away, totally embarrassed. Stupid boy and his stupid cocky smirk.

I looked around the table for everyone's reactions, Liam and Emma had a knowing look in their eyes, but Jacob's parents just looked mortified.

"That's very strange." Emma commented to break the heavy silence that fell over us.

Roger cleared his throat, "So Liam, Emma, you two are very young to have a child Jenny's age."

I knew he was just trying to steer the conversation away from what Jacob had said, but couldn't he have brought up anything else?

"Oh Jenny isn't our daughter, she's my sister. Our parents died when she was young and our grandparents took care of her until they had to go into a retirement home. That's when Emma and I took over." Liam explained, smiling warmly at me. I knew how much he cared about me, and I would forever be grateful for all the sacrifices he's made for me.

I just wish he didn't explain the situation to the Nash family. Now Jacob knows something about me that only my closest friends knew. No one other than Mason and Alyssa know about my living situation, it's just not something I like talking about. Growing up without parents made me feel like a freak, Mother's Day and Father's Day were especially difficult when I was younger, everyone else at school would make gifts for their parents and I felt so left out. But as I got older I started to care a little less, I was just grateful I had other family that loved and cared about me. But I still didn't want people to know that I didn't have parents, especially not Jacob.

No one really knew what to say after Liam's explanation, so the remainder of dinner was pretty quiet and a little awkward. There was some small talk, but it just didn't feel right.

When the Nash family finally left I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. Jacob didn't completely spill the beans, no one knew the person that kissed him was me. So at least one thing went right tonight.

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