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I smiled and felt a fresh wave of tears coming my way. “Sounds good.”

I sat patiently waiting as Jackson began cooking. “First, we’re going to do scrambled—both hard scrambled and soft scrambled.”

“I didn’t know there was more than one way to scramble eggs,” I told him.

“By the end of the night, you’ll be shocked by my egg-making skills. I eat eggs every day before I work out.”

“Oh? You work out?” I mocked him. “I couldn’t tell at all. You’re kind of skinny for a guy who works out,” I joked. Jackson had more muscles than I knew a human could have. To put it frankly, he looked like a Greek god.

“Shut up,” he huffed but in such a light way. I swore it almost looked like he was blushing.

“Do you get embarrassed by how handsome you are?” I asked.

“Don’t call me handsome.”

“Aww, it makes you nervous, doesn’t it, handsome?”

He gave me a hard look, but those eyes still looked playful. “Don’t make me spit in your eggs.”


He brought me the first round of self-discovery: hard scrambled and soft scrambled.

I picked up a fork and ate them.


Not a fan.

“I don’t like how they feel in my mouth,” I told him.

“Rumor has it most girls like it to be hard in their mouths to make it easier to swallow,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Yeah but…” I started, but then I paused. I replayed what he’d said in my head as my cheeks heated, and I began to blush. “Oh my gosh, Jackson! You’re so inappropriate.”

“Of course I am—I’m a guy.” He finished eating the eggs for me. “Okay. Next up is an omelet,” he declared, going back to the stovetop.

The omelet did nothing for me. He ate that, too. He also finished off the poached egg, the hard and soft boiled eggs, and when he set the over-easy egg in front of me, and I cracked it open, I literally gagged.

“You forgot to cook this one!” I shuddered.

He laughed, and I swooned at the sound. I hadn’t known he knew how to do that—laugh.

“It’s supposed to be—runny,” he told me.

“It legit looks like an alien’s brain landed on my plate, and then all of his insides oozed all over. That’s disgusting.”

He walked over to his counter, took out a piece of bread, and returned to the table. He proceeded to scoop up the nasty, runny guts and eat every last drop. Then he pulled out a chair and sat down. “Well, that’s a wrap. All out of eggs.”

I nodded slowly. “You know what? I don’t think I like eggs.”

He smiled, and I felt it. “So, first discovery of Gracelyn Mae: she’s a woman who hates eggs.”

“You have a dimple when you smile,” I mentioned. “In your left cheek.”

He dropped the grin, and I was sad that I’d even brought it up. “My mom had the same one in her right cheek.”

“I’m sorry,” I told him, growing somber. “About your mother.”

He shifted around and shrugged. “It’s fine. People die.”

“Just because people die, doesn’t make it fine, Jackson.”

His brows wrinkled and he shook his head. “Yeah, well, I’m not the case study tonight. You are. So, let’s get back to focusing on you. What’s the next self-discovery task you have?”

“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “But I’m interested to find out who I actually am. Can I tell you a secret, though? One of the hardest things for me?”

“What’s that?”

“I have a ridiculous fear of letting people down.”

Jackson grimaced and shrugged. “You’re gonna have to let some people down in order to find yourself.”

“Is it even worth it, though?”

“Yes,” he replied adamantly. “It’s always worth it, and those who care will stay. Those who don’t should’ve faded a long time ago.”

“Have you found yourself, Jackson?” I asked him, curiosity filling me up inside.

“Nah.” He gently shook his head and fiddled with the band on his wrist. I zoomed in on it and read what it said: Powerful Moments. “I don’t know if there’s anything left to find.”

I was certain he was wrong, but by the way his body tensed up, I knew he was done with the conversation.

“I should probably get going,” I said, clearing my throat. He nodded and stood from the chair. “Thank you for tonight, though. Truly.”

“Of course, and I am sorry for my sometimes harsh personality.”

I smiled, and as we walked to the front door, I thanked him once more. His arm brushed against mine, and chills raced up and down my body.

“Good night, Gracelyn.”

“Good night, Jackson.”

As I walked away, somehow still felt his touch.

“Grace?” a high-pitched voice said behind me, and as I turned, I mentally sighed as my eyes landed on the speaker.

“Hey, Charlotte. Hey, girls,” I said to the gossip queen and her group of followers. “What’s up?”

“Oh nothing, just coming from girls’ night. We’re off to get some ice cream. We were low on desserts, seeing how you didn’t bring that apple cobbler.” She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. “I don’t mean to pry”—Oh gosh, here we go—“but did I just see you with Jackson Emery?”