Thirteen-year-old Jamie Bennett swallowed nervously. "I really don't know if I can do this."
"Eh, you'll get over it," Jack replied more flippantly than he really felt. He casually balanced cross-legged on his staff. "Just have to suck it up, you know? It'll be over before you know it. You're doing a good thing, Jamie."
"Easy for you to say," Jamie mumbled, pouting a bit.
Jack sighed and moved closer, casting a Why me? look at the sky.
"Okay kid, listen," he said. "I really, really don't have a lot of experience with girls, believe it or not, so I'm not entirely sure how much I can help you out here."
He still wasn't entirely sure why Jamie had come running to him in the first place; Jack Frost barely had any interpersonal experience with people in general, much less middle school girls. He hadn't even realized that Jamie looked up to him as much as he did until Tooth and Sandman pointed it out.
Why me? he thought again.
"But what am I supposed to do?"
"I have no idea," Jack replied truthfully.
Jamie looked so desperate and depressed that Jack couldn't help but give in. Whoever said he didn't care about kids?
"Okay, okay. Here's what I say. I mean, just getting the nerve to do it is all on you, but…" Jack sighed again. "Okay. You want to ask out this girl. It's a nice gesture, but that's probably not enough. Think about why you really want to do it. You're nervous but there's a reason you're putting yourself through all of this."
Jamie let out a long, heavy breath and sat down, leaning his elbows on his knees. "Well…she's really nice and fun, even though lots of people don't think so. I mean…I don't like like her, I just like her as a friend, but…" He looked up at Jack, sudden panic in his eyes. "Will she think I'm asking her just because I feel bad and don't think she'll get a date any other way? Because I don't!"
"I know, I know," Jack assured him. "Be upfront. It's honesty, everyone likes honesty. You're off to a great start."
"Maybe it's dumb." Jamie chewed on his lower lip. "Honestly, I don't even get the big deal. We're just in eighth grade, but she said she wants to go to this thing, and most everyone else we know is paired off already… I just want her to have fun."
"There you go!" Jack clapped Jamie on the back supportively. "That's probably the best reason you've come up with. You're just nervous 'cause you're a kid and aren't used to this stuff yet."
He glanced up at the sound of voices; there were Jamie's friends, approaching where they stood.
"Alright, I'm gonna bounce," he said. "Here's your chance."
Without waiting for an answer, Jack jumped up and took off into the sky, leaving nothing but a frigid wind and a few stray snowflakes.
"Wha—Jack!" Jamie hollered after him, to no avail. He was gone. "…Traitor."
"Hey Jamie!" Claude greeted cheerfully as the group drew nearer. "Was that Jack? What'd he take off for?"
Jamie, feeling fairly sick, stared at the ground and shrugged. He hadn't expected to lose his moral support so quickly. Twenty seconds, he just needed twenty seconds of courage, that what they said, right? Oh, god, why did it have to be in front of everyone?
Just go for it, Bennett.
He took a deep breath to steady his nerves, then dove in.
"Hey, Cupcake. You wanna go to the dance with me?"