*Warning- three swear words at the end.
After travelling the rest of the night and the whole next day, I finally arrived at the home of Sylvia Monty, where I would be staying till July or sooner, if things at home became settled. When the unfortunate incident (my parent’s words) happened on the beach with Sun, my mom made a few phone calls and I was sent to live with Sylvia to keep her company. She was recently widowed from a long time marriage to Valentine Monty, and their son had been looking for a companion for his mother, to keep an eye on her and help her where needed. I would not be coming home till the results of the test determined paternity, and possibly not even then, depending on what the results said.
My heart ached with missing Sun, but I would play along for now.
When I arrived at the Monty home, I found the house to be pitch dark with only a tiny light on in the kitchen. Sylvia had left me a note on the counter saying she was sorry for not being home but to help myself to something to eat. She was sure there was a microwave meal or two in the freezer.
Not quite the welcoming I was looking for, but I made the meal and ate in silence at the dining room table.
It was creepy being alone in a house you didn’t know. So I went through the house flipping on lights and checking things out. I found what I thought to be a guest bedroom on the second floor, simply furnished with a bed and two night stands. No personal items at all.
When I stepped through an arch way I found a long rectangular room, that looked to be a party room. It had a killer stereo, a dance floor, tv area and even a gaming system. The third floor was obviously Sylvia’s master suite, complete with an office.
This did not make any sense. Why did a woman who was obviously perfectly capable of climbing two flights of stairs, with a party room and who wasn’t even home to greet me need a companion? It wasn’t like she was some feeble old woman. She obviously had a life of her own, simply because she wasn’t even home. Probably out partying somewhere else!
Off to the side of the party room, I noticed a couple of patio doors that led onto a balcony and I decided to head outside to see if I could get the lay of the neighbourhood. I pulled open the door, stepped out and froze! Now in my defense I have never seen a ghost before. That was scary enough, but then the ghost began to speak!
“Oh hello! You must be Jin. My name is-”
I threw up my hands in panic and ran back into the room. I ran into the guest room and slammed the door. Climbing into bed, I threw the covers up over my head and heard nothing until a female voice was saying my name.
“Jin? Jin, its time to wake up now.”
Wake up? Its still pitch dark! And also really stuffy! Oh, right. I peeked my head out from under the covers, to a sun lit room and a grey haired woman standing by the door.
“Morning sleepy head. I’m Sylvia and I’m really happy to have you here. I hear you met my husband last night.”
“Husband,” I yawned. “No, no one was here last night. Just some ghost!”
Sylvia laughed. “Yup that’s him. I take it you have never met a ghost before? Well no matter, get up and come down for breakfast. You don’t want to be late for your appointment at the school.” Then she began to close the door.
Huh? “Wait! Sylvia, did you say school?”
“Yes you have a 9 o’clock appointment at the school to get registered. Chop chop!” Then she closed the door and walked away.
School? I hadn’t counted on that turn of events. I was tempted to lay back down and throw the covers up over my head, but that would be rude, so I got up. Dragged my feet all the way downstairs but was greeted by the scent of blueberry pancakes! My fav! Once I finished, Sylvia gave me directions and shoved me out the door. I got half way to the school, when I realized, it was actually Sunday.
The school was literally around the corner and down the block so it took me no time to get there. I was greeted outside by a teacher.
“Jin? Hi, I’m Miss Meirs. Thank you for coming to see me on a weekend. I just wanted to make sure we had you all settled for your first day of school tomorrow. Come with me.”
She led me into this big office and instructed me to sit down.
“So tell me all about your mom and dad. How are they doing?”
At first I thought that was a really odd question to be asking, then I struggled to remember her name and it hit me.
“Wait are you Lady Meirs? Should I have like, bowed or something?” I started to stand.
Miss Meirs laughed. “I figured you didn’t remember me and no to the bowing, if you please. In fact, other than a few staff here, no one knows who I really am, certainly not the kids and I would like to keep it that way if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t understand. Why?” I asked
“Well, I moved here from Sunset Valley to take this position and I just feel I would like to be treated the same as everyone else for a change. Does that make any sense?”
I nodded, “I won’t say a word.”
“Ah, Jin. You were such a cute little baby. We certainly missed you when you left. So now you are here. Let’s look at your file, which is really thin by the look of it. Did you not attend school at all?”
“No, and I had no idea I was going to be now either. My parents tutored me and until now they thought that was enough!”
“Well, I must say they did do a really good job. Normally kids in your circumstance would need an extra year to catch up, but as it is, I don’t see you needing to take anything on top of what is required for the last half of this year. Plus, I will get to see you everyday. I teach history, which for your schedule is last period.”
“Aren’t you, the principal?”
“Oh, no! Just a teacher who fills in where needed when we get new students. Now Mr. Bell, we shall see you tomorrow.”
She stood and I slowly rose from my seat. During our talk I had been glancing at the painting on the wall behind her and I was curious who painted it.
Walking around her desk, I looked more closely at the painting.
“This is one of my mother’s! I recognize this field in France.”
“Yes it is you are right. She tried giving it to me once but I refused to take it for free. So when I saw it hanging in a gallery, I snatched it up. Cost me a pretty penny too, if I may say so. Tribute to your mother’s wonderful talent! I’ve spent a lot of time looking at this painting, just dreaming.”
She sighed. “Anyway Jin, I really must be going. Good luck on your first day. Any trouble, just let me know.”
I walked back to Sylvia’s house practically stomping with every step. School? Are you frickin kidding me? In seven months I will be 18. Free to do whatever I wish. Fine, I get why they sent me away. But school? C’mon! Even if I flunked every class it made no difference to the rest of my life. I wonder what would happen if I just don’t go? Parents are so far away, what are they going to do!
Later that afternoon the phone rang and when I answered it, Lady Meirs was on the line.
“Hey Jin. I’m heading out to my cousin’s ranch and I thought you might like to come. You can meet her daughter Cameron. She is your age and then you would have someone you knew for school tomorrow.”
I agreed and she came to pick me up. Sometime in the night while we all slept, a light layer of snow fell and even though the sun had been shining all day, it hadn’t gotten warm enough to fully melt the snow. Funny how I never noticed the cold this morning!
When I got there I was greeted by a horse in the driveway that gave me a stare that was scarier than a guard dog! Inch by inch, I made my way up to the horse and let it sniff my hand.
Then Lady Meirs handed me a treat to feed him and all of a sudden I had a new best friend.
When I met Honor, I was surprised to see how much she looked just like Lady Maria. They could almost be sisters, right down to the colour of their hair.
“Jin so nice to meet you. My husband is out there in the field with the new baby horse. He will come up later. I’m afraid Cameron isn’t here yet. Would you like to help me by brushing out Chardonnay while you wait?”
“Uh, sure. But I don’t know how.”
“Just like this,” she replied, showing me on an older colt that was in the barn. “You can usually find Chardonnay out front guarding the drive. I don’t know why he does that, he just does,” she said shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head.
As I walked away I heard Lady Maria say to Honor, “Just like you! Determined to make everyone a horse person aren’t you.” Then Honor laughed and said “yup!”
Chardonnay was quite agreeable to a brushing and he nevercomplained so I must have done it right. Just as I was finishing, Cameron showed up and brought me upstairs.
“Wow! You are just drop dead gorgeous!” Ouch! Did I really say that out loud?
Cameron laughed. “Uh, thank you? I don’t think I have ever really been complimented quite like that before. It almost sounded like it was an unbelievable notion.” She shook her head with a smile.
“No, I mean. You are gorgeous. Of course you are gorgeous. I mean, have you seen your mom?”
“No actually I haven’t. I’m adopted Jin. But I think Honor would be happy to know you thought I was hers. They haven’t been blessed with children so far.”
“I’m sorry. I guess you can tell I just don’t have that much experience talking to girls.”
“Really? Cause after living away from civilization, I would have thought you would be a real natural!” Then she gave me a face and I began to relax.
“Do you pillow fight?” she asked.
I laughed. “Do I pillow fight? Better than you I bet!” I groaned, shut up Jin!
“Well you are on!” She raced up to her parents bedroom and I followed her like the idiot I was.
She turned to me with such an expression, whacked me once with the pillow and said “Bring it on tough guy!”
I learned two things that day. One, Cameron had a very fun personality and two, she was really mean with a pillow!
We spent the rest of the day just hanging out in her parents room, laughing over stupid stuff and talking about what school was going to be like.
That night I went to bed, feeling a little better about the school thing. I mean its still a waste of time, but at least I wouldn’t be friendless there.
The morning of my first official day of school, I woke up early almost excited about my first day. Sylvia made me blueberry pancakes again for breakfast and she told me I needed to hurry up because the bus would be arriving any moment.
“Bus? Seriously? why do I need to ride the bus when school is just right there,” I said pointing to the outside in the direction of the school.
“I know,” she said. “Rules are rules.”
I hurried through breakfast and walked outside just in time to see the bus drive up. Ridiculous, I thought to myself, but hey less walking for me so I won’t complain. Especially on those rainy days.
The busy ride took literally 30 seconds. Okay I didn’t time it, perhaps I would tomorrow! So a five min walk where I could sleep half hour more, or a quick bus ride? Weighing the pros and cons in my head here. Plus I was the only one on the bus too. Weird. Like it’s my own personal limo. Yellow, uncomfortable seats and no beverages but hey, all mine, so that is kind of cool.
I arrived at the school, stood in line with a bunch of kids, mostly girls and waited as everyone entered the building one at a time. It took forever! I saw Cameron up ahead but I couldn’t get to her and she went into the school before I could even yell out her name. Then, I walked into the classroom and was immediately ushered back out to a bus to go on a field trip; to where I didn’t know.
The teacher sat with me, which was strange considering there were all these other empty seats, and he never said a word.
When we got off I just followed all the other kids. It was a nice view.
We arrived at this really large building that I found out was the hospital. What kind of class takes a trip to the hospital? Oh yeah a biology one. Science-not my favourite class.
The one thing I had learned was that all the buildings were just massive with doorways big enough to fit a giant through. Did the town date back to medieval times or something? Yes I know giants aren’t real, give me a break. I’m just saying, these doorway openings are just huge!
Anyway the first day went okay. I only got to see Cameron in the hallways mostly and I didn’t see her after school before having to get on the bus. I had heard that a lot of the kids hung out at this place called Mick’s, so when I got home and no one was there, I called a taxi to take me there.
I waited for hours covering part of that time doing homework, but no teens showed up. I went home disappointed and feeling a little homesick. I called my dad, who asked about my day. I asked him if I could go home, but he said this move was for the best and I needed to give it a good try. He didn’t stay on the phone long and wouldn’t let me talk to mom or Sun. I went to bed feeling incredibly sad and lonely.
The next day, I searched for Cameron after school and asked if she wanted to do anything. Her face lit up with excitement and then obvious disappointment. She said she would love to, but she had hours of work to do in the library for a school project.
“Can I come? I could help or do my homework and not bug you. I just really don’t want to go back to the Monty house!”
We did start out exactly as we planned, eyes focused on books, pencils scribbling on paper.
But after so many glances across the table to one another, it became evidently clear that all concentration had left the building. Before we knew it, we found ourselves on the deserted third floor getting into all kinds of mischief. From up there we could see clear down to the main floor where people came and went through the main doors and lounged on the sofas directly below us.
“Hey, hey, hey,” I said nudging her. “Check it out. See that guy in the plaid hat? Watch his eyes. Do you see it? He’s trying to pretend he is reading his book but what he is really doing is looking up that woman’s skirt. She should really learn to close her legs!”
“You think that is bad? From my angle I can see right down her dress and I don’t think she is even wearing underwear!”
“Ewwwwwww!” I replied that had both of us in fits of hysteria.
One by one all the patrons left basically leaving us alone in the library. We hung out in the alcove on the third floor talking about school and Cameron’s friends. Just before eleven, Cameron bolted up, “Oh no, what time is it?”“Soon to be eleven I think,” I replied
“We got to go!” Cameron said in some alarm.
We parted at the library doors, both heading in opposite directions. “I’ll see you at school,” she yelled just before popping into the taxi.
Over the next two weeks, Cameron and I spent a lot of time hanging out together. She introduced me to her horses and tried to make me a rider.
The first horse she tried to get me to ride was Speedy. Speedy is quite the character in his own way so when I walked up to him and went to put on a saddle, Speedy responded like this:
Who knew that horses could actually laugh. So when she pointed at Chardonnay next, you know the guard horse with the crazy eyes, I said to her “are you crazy? Nah uh! No way!”
“Jin Bell, get your butt on that horse!”
It took me a bit to get up on him (geez have you seen how tall that horse is?) I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
But after walking him four feet, he promptly bucked me off. Hence ending any desire to ride a horse ever again. Which was just fine with me because to be honest it made me really sad and miss Socks. He was someone I hadn’t thought of often since I was little but when I did, the memory was still very clear.
Not wanting to ride didn’t get me out of having to attend all those horse shows though, some of which Cameron either raced in or competed for jumping. Those were interesting, but the others were just a huge bore. Half the time I had no idea what they were talking about. To pay her back, I took her to scary movies, which I knew she absolutely hated! Hehehehe. She became really freaked over the movie called The House With No Doors.
“That was the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life! You are so mean Jin Bell! I swear I won’t sleep for weeks!”
“Oh c’mon! It wasn’t that scary! As far as I could tell you were the only one with her face hidden in someone’s shoulder.”
“But that scene…with that guy and the kid! And when that bird came flying right at us on the screen! And where on earth did that ax come from anyway!”
“Oh my gosh, you are totally hopeless,” Jin sighed. “I give up. I’m going home.”
“So soon? Its not even nine yet.”
“I still have homework yet to do. See ya.”
“Oh. Okay I guess. Bye.”
Friday night I actually had a sleep over at her house. Her step father hadn’t fully finished the house yet, but on the third floor he did have a room started which I think was supposed to be a nursery. It had a bunk bed where I slept while Cameron slept in her room on the second floor.
Staying at her house wasn’t a lot different than my own as her parents were just as lovey dovey with their affections as my parents were. I began to wonder if all families were like that. Cameron explained that her mom and Travis had only been married for two years and were desperate to have a child. Building the house and caring for the horses had taken up a lot of their time, so they were just getting around to trying since the colts would soon be going to auction. Cameron’s father, had been a real “ladies man” messing around with women behind her mother’s back. He now lives across town and is married to someone else. She didn’t see him often and she was quite happy with that arrangement.
After that I actually spent a lot of time at her house, helping the family with whatever was needed, from farm chores, to housework. I was just so happy to have found a place to belong while I was going to be stuck here.
Somehow without even trying, little Mistt had become very attached to me. She followed me around everywhere, nudging me for attention. She was the youngest and newest colt of the ranch just a week old when I started spending time with Cameron. Her three white legs reminded me even more of Socks, even though she was so dark she could almost be called Midnight black. She was also going to auction and I was trying really hard not to get attached to her, but she was making it really difficult! I would have bought her for myself, if I thought my parents would consider another horse on the island. But Mistt was meant for the life of the jumping circuit and was destined to have as good a career as her mother. I couldn’t take that away from her to be the lone horse on a secluded island. So when the time came, I watched Travis lead her away, holding back the tears I wished not to fall.
After that, Cameron and I spent a lot of our time away from the ranch. She packed picnics and we ate down by the little pond.
She worked on homework, while I watched. Well, more like helped actually.
We talked a lot about life and what she wanted from it. I didn’t talk that much around this subject because I didn’t want her to know why I was there. Its not that I didn’t trust Cameron, but can you imagine if that bit of gossip got around. ‘Did you hear, Jin is in love with his sister?!’ Yah, no. I also didn’t want to make up a lie either so, I said things like “I don’t know” or “I haven’t decided yet.” Both were very true and very unfortunate as things currently stood.
I frustrated her to no end with my lack of a clear plan for my life and she was always trying to push me into making decisions.
“Time is ticking on Jin. You’re what eighteen in six months? You should have some idea by now what you want to do!”
At that point I got really ticked with her and told her if she didn’t leave it alone, we were going to have to stop hanging out together. That seemed to get through to her and I never heard another word about it again. It had been two weeks since I arrived in Monte Vista, and as it wasn’t a very ‘happening place’ I was running out of ideas for things to do. Cameron was quite happy on her ranch with the horses and didn’t care about anything else, but I was still a little afraid of being around Chardonnay and Speedy continued to laugh at me every time he saw me. So if we wanted to hang out it had to be somewhere else. This place was so boring that even the only night club was permanently shut down!
I settled on teaching Cameron how to fish. She wasn’t quite sure about it, especially the bait on a hook thing, so I brought vegetables for her to use. We spent about three hours in silence and at the end she was miffed she only caught three tiny fish while, I had in my fish bag, a bunch of large trout.
“Put them back! That is so mean! I put mine back.”
“Heck no I’m not going to put them back. I’m going to eeeat them. nom nom nom nom nom,” I teased her while mimicking an eating action.
“C’mon seriously? Don’t tell me you have never eaten fish before when it was served to you. Where did you think it came from?”
“When it is served to me on a plate, it doesn’t have sad eyes looking up at me saying SAVE ME!”
I laughed because the expression on her face was just so comical.Then what she did next stopped my heart cold and I never saw it coming.
“What the hell was that?” I screamed at her. “Why did you do that?”
“Well someone had to do it and it was becoming very clear that you never were. I mean GEEZ JIN, we’ve been dating for like four weeks now! We’re you ever going to get around to it?”
“NO! Because we are not dating! Just hanging out, FRIENDS like. Why on Simworld would you think we were dating?!!”
“Gee, I don’t know Jin. Lets see. One, you took me to the movies, two- we’ve been on picnics, three-we spend ALL our time together.”
“I’ve also, done chores on your farm, scrubbed your toilets and cleaned your kitchen AND had sleepovers with you. Does that sound like a date?”
“Well no, it sounds like a guy who is showing me he is marriage material. But okay fine, it’s out there so can we at least discuss it? What do you think about dating, me I mean?”
“Look it Cameron. I am not the boyfriend or the marrying kind. Got it!”
“Wait, are you like gay or something? Is that it? Cause otherwise we get along great together.”
“What- you’re so hot and such a catch that if I don’t want you there must be something wrong with me. Is that what you are saying? Loser move Cameron! I never would have guessed you would be such a -”
“What? A bitch? W H A T E V E R! See you later Jerk!
Later at home, I was feeling really bad about the way things went down with Cameron and I planned on apologizing if I saw her again. I called my dad, feeling really homesick and trying to hold back tears. “Please dad, I don’t like it here. I just want to come home. Please, can I come home. I promise what happened with me and Sun wont happen again. I just need to come home.”
“No son I’m sorry. I know what almost happened on the beach was not your fault. But still, you need to stay there.”
“Can I talk to mom?”
“I don’t think that is a good idea. I can hear in your voice you’ve had a bad time of it. But this is for the best Jin. I love you son.”
Then he hung up. I’ve never felt so unloved in my whole life as I did at that moment. I did cry then, like a baby. And it didn’t make me feel the least bit better.
You know what? SCREW YOU DAD!
CC Used In This Chapter