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Story of a Day
If Jack could choose between going to Heaven, Comic Con, and Six Flags all at once, or keeping this moment, it would be the latter, no contest.
He didn't think luck like this happened outside of movies. It’s like he was living in a John Hughes film. It wasn't like she was the super popular girl, and he was the school loser (mostly), but getting out of the friendzone into the more-than-friendzone was not an easy task.
Jack had been friends with Penny Tucker for several months now, since the beginning of the new semester. She transferred from a high school in South Carolina, right near where he was born, before his family moved out of state soon after. It was what they first bonded over- that, and their similar looks that allowed them to convince people they were siblings. She didn't have much contact with any of her extended relatives- something Jack could relate to. Stuff like that was something small, but you had to start somewhere, right?
Ever since then, he had been faithfully pursuing her. They didn't hang out much outside of school. They both had their licenses, so when they did meet, they didn't have to rely on parents- which meant Jack and Penny had never actually been over to each others’ houses, or met each others’ families. At any rate, it hadn't gone anywhere past close friends from school, not that he minded much- just being friends with her was enough for the time being.
Luckily, Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse to gather together enough courage to ask her out officially. He asked her out, she said yes, and now he was about to meet her at the local Dairy Queen- nothing fancy, he didn't wanna rush things. He looked out the window from his booth and waited as patiently as he could manage. He didn't want to freak her out or anything by being super excited. He had to play it cool. He heard girls liked that.
A flash of red hair from outside caught his eye- yes, it was Penny! Still wearing the dirty soccer uniform for the practice she had come straight from, she pulled up to the door on her bright neon bike and locked it. He popped up and rushed over to open the door for her, nearly tripping over himself in the process.
“Hey, um, hi!” he said eagerly. Real smooth, Jack.
“Hey,” she replied with a smirk. “Nervous?”
“A little,” he admitted. “Hungry?”
“Starved,” she said with a smile. “Shall we?”
Jack bought them Blizzards and brought them over to their booth. You could almost feel the awkward. But as always with Penny, they got along like family and quickly settled into their usual banter-routine. They were completely at ease by the time Jack was escorting Penny out the door after their date.
“Hey, Jack?” Penny asked.
“Yeah?” Jack responded.
“Today was really funny. I mean, really, I’m so glad we did this.”
She had fun! Jack eagerly thought with a smile.
“Me too. Does this mean we can do it again?”
“Yeah, I’d love to. In fact, if you’re not doing anything later, you can come over and hang out at my house. We can order pizza and have a Doctor Who marathon,” Penny said hopefully.
“That sounds awesome,” Jack replied. “See you there then. Six?”
“Sounds perfect,” she said with a smile. “See you later.”
Jack felt like he was on Cloud Nine the rest of the day. He felt like he was floating. The mental reminder he was going to have to officially meet her family deflated his spirits a bit. As six drew closer, his emotions started to align closer to panic as he wondered how her parents would react to him. Nicely, preferably, but he was willing to put up with overbearing parents if it meant being with Penny.
Jack parked in her driveway and double checked the address. Definitely her house. Didn't want to make himself look like an idiot by trying the wrong house. He walked up to the surbuban home and rang the doorbell. He was greeted by a slightly familiar face that seemed to ring a bell somewhere in his subconscious.
“You must be Penny’s friend,” she said with pleasant smile. “I’m Penny’s mom, Sylvia Tucker. Come on in.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Tucker,” he said and walked in. “Your home is really nice.”
“Thank you. Penny, your boyfriend is here!”
“Mom!” Penny said exasperatedly, her face heating up. “His name is Jack. Jack, this is my mom, mom, this is my, um, boyfriend, Jack Anderson.”
Penny’s mom froze. Her face turned white.
Her tone scared Jack. What did he do wrong?
“Yeah... what’s wrong? Did I say something?”
“Now I know where I recognized you from... we didn't stay in contact, but your picture... I had no idea...” Mrs. Tucker’s ramblings left Penny and Jack completely speechless.
“I can’t let you date Jack,” she finally said.
“What?! Why?!” Penny said angirily. Jack didn't know what to say, so he just stood there, paralysed. If the earth could swallow him whole right now, he would be completely fine with it.
“Penny... Jack is your cousin.”