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100 Words: Thomas Hunt / Jane Doe

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Hours after the prank, Thomas could still feel the sickening feeling in his stomach, the hammering pound of his heart, and the icy-cold chill shooting down his spine. He couldn’t remember the last time he had ever felt so scared.

Thomas was known for—prided himself in—his ability to keep a cool head no matter the situation; he formulated plans while everyone else panicked, he lead while others followed. But when she fell—

—when the fog had swallowed her up—

—her blood-curdling scream—

Since when had his feelings for her run so deep that he had completely forgotten himself?

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“Check out the birds,” Hunt mimicked, jumping over a protruding tree root as they ran through the thick jungle. “It’ll be fun, she says.”

She huffed. “How was I supposed to know parrots are evil, vicious creatures?”

“Have you seen their beaks?” he snapped. “Those things can tear through your flesh like paper!”

“They’re meant for seeds and fruits!” she immediately retorted, glancing behind her at the colorful, angry swarm of parrots. “Aren’t you going to be romantic and fight them off?”

“And risk getting peaked to death by parrots?” Hunt asked. “That is not how I want to go.”

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He was standing behind her, acting all nonchalant even as the pad of his thumb traced circles on the back of her sensitive neck. “Weren’t you listening to my lecture earlier?” he asked, voice so low she could feel involuntary shivers traveling down her spine.

Jane swallowed hard. “Um.” Like hell she was going to tell him she was more absorbed with watching the movement of his Adam’s apple as he talked.

“Pay attention,” he told her, leaning down so close she could feel his breath next to her ear.

Her breath hitched as she forgot how to breathe.

Bastard!

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“Cut!”

Jane, who had been leaning forward for the kiss squeaked in alarm, wobbled, lost her balance, and promptly fell onto her face.

“What the hell?” she snapped, sitting up to face the director. “You couldn’t have called cut before?”

The director returned her glare with a frightened, wide-eyed look. “T-that wasn’t me!” he stammered, jerking his thumb to his left.

She redirected her glare.

Hunt raised an eyebrow and turned his face away. “You look ridiculous with your lips puckered up like that,” he replied, sniffing delicately.

Her eyebrows twitched in annoyance. That’s not what you said last night!

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Thomas looked down at the thing in his arms. It was so tiny. And squishy. He wasn’t really sure what to make of it. In fact, he could practically feel himself beginning to panic because he didn’t know what to do.

He was a father now, he realized with sudden clarity as the thing blinked large, unfocused eyes up at him. Thomas frowned; what a horrifying thought.

Ignorant to Thomas’ train of thought, the thing merely babbled nonsensically, face scrunching.

Jane leaned over and peered up at his face curiously. “Thomas,” she said, “are you teaching him to frown already?”

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Despite never having been fond of sharing his personal space—especially his bed—Thomas was quite surprised to find that he didn’t mind sleeping with Jane.

He actually enjoyed the way she tucked herself against him, wiggling around until she was comfortable. He enjoyed losing himself to the soft feel of her skin, the scent of vanilla, lavender, and everything else that was Jane. Hell, he even enjoyed her sleep-talking and tendency to drool on all his pillows.

Yes, Thomas thought, he rather enjoyed sleeping with Jane—even if he did usually wake up with a mouthful of her hair.

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“What in hell’s name are you doing?” Hunt asked, mouth agape, eyes wide, and looking just the tiniest bit frightened.

Jane simply rolled her eyes as she wiggled out of her shorts. “Taking off my clothes, what does it look like?”

He sputtered almost angrily. “I-I know you’re taking off your clothes! Why?”

“Every heard of skinny-dipping?” she asked, peering into the clear water of the lake before turning to face him. “Join me?” Jane flashed him a smirk, playfully fingering the edge of her underwear. He swallowed hard. “I’ll even let you take off the rest of my clothes.”

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Some vacation, he thought, stomping through the snow. Why were class trips even a thing? It was freezing; his nose was threatening to fall off and he could no longer feel the lower half of his body. Around him, students ceased their snowball fight, not wanting to accidentally hit him, especially with that particular scowl on his face.

Wham!

Something cold and wet smacked into his face.

He blinked.

Jane smiled, eyelashes fluttering innocently. Narrowing his eyes dangerously, Thomas knelt down and reached for a handful of snow, watching with unabashed glee as her eyes widened in horror, smile dropping.

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“It’s like listening to nails on chalkboard.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Chris frowned concernedly. It was only an hour into the show; they did not need yet another person running off the stage in tears. “You have potential,” he said, attempting to soothe the teary, wide-eyed contestant.

Thomas snorted, unimpressed. “To crack glass, perhaps.”

“Oh please!” Lisa finally snapped. “It’s not like you can sing any better.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that.” Jane replied, gracing Thomas with a secretive smile. Next to her, he immediately tensed in response. “I mean, he does sing me to sleep every night.”

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“What are you wearing?”

Jane looked up in alarm, hamburger halfway into her mouth. She looked more than a little ridiculous but it wasn’t enough to make her back down. Puffing her cheeks out in annoyance, Jane set the hamburger back down and snapped, “It’s a bikini!”

“It shows more skin than your undergarments!”

Hunt immediately winced, catching Addison’s gaze who suddenly found her salad extremely interesting.

“Never mind!” he huffed before spinning around and stomping away.

They stared after his retreating form for a moment.

“It’s amazing you guys haven’t been caught yet,” Addison finally said, rolling her eyes.

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“Thomas?”

“What is it?” he asked cautiously. Jane didn’t usually call him by his first name and frankly, it scared him a little whenever she did.

“Can we do something on Valentine’s Day?” she asked. “Something romantic for once?”

Thomas raised an eyebrow. “I am romantic,” he muttered, feeling slightly insulted.

Jane rolled her eyes and leaned into him, resting her head lightly on his shoulder. “Honestly, I’ve had dinner dates with my sister that’s more romantic.”

Discretely reaching into his pocket, Thomas fingered the velvety surface of the ring box. “I can probably think of something,” he finally replied.

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Her eyes were oddly calculating when she entered his bedroom.

Thomas felt himself panic even though he knew he had tidied up the previous night and that the ripped-out magazine interview article where Jane had publicly complimented him was safely hidden away.

“Damn,” she muttered. “I thought for sure you were going to have a shrine dedicated to yourself in here, considering your ego.”

He scowled at her.

“Maybe of me, then?” she teased and Thomas felt his heart stop. Not a shrine, per se, but definitely a scrapbook of sorts. Like hell he was going to tell her that.

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Claire’s quiet sniffles sounded loud in the near-empty classroom; but even so, Hunt was relentless. “Why are you crying?” he snapped. “Do you think tears will get you anywhere in this industry?”

“No, professor,” she whimpered. Jane’s heart went out for her; it took a special kind of viciousness to stand up to Hunt.

Hunt glared. “Out.”

Claire needn’t to be reminded and was gone before Jane could even blink.

Feeling her gaze, Hunt looked up. “What?” he asked, sounding more tired than annoyed.

Jane blinked. Then: “Is it wrong for me to feel jealous when you yell at her?”

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“Who invented stop motion films?”

“Blackton,” Thomas answered distractedly, watching Jane close soft, pink lips around her pen. They glistened when she wet them with a quick swipe of her tongue. He swallowed hard.

“Full name?”

“James Stuart Blackton.” Long, dexterous fingers reached upwards, pushing a thick lock of sleek, black hair behind delicate-looking ears. He breathed out slowly when she tilted her head, her diamond earrings catching the early morning sunlight.

“Year?”

“Nineteen—” He froze. Then blinked. “Wait. Am I doing your homework for you?”

“Of course not,” she answered, but her amused smirk gave everything away. He flushed.