J.J.’s Journal: Part Two

J.J. talks about turning fifteen….

5/2

4:30 A.M.

Today is my birthday. I’m fifteen today, and I have cramps. I’m up walking the floor, taking Ibruprophen and cursing. I love being a girl until that time of the month. Then I’d give anything to not be one. What is up with periods anyway? It’s bad enough I have to have one. Why does it have to hurt so much too? I don’t need this, especially on my birthday.

I think I’m going to stay home from school. Everybody will be trying to play with me, and hit me, and I am not going to feel like that. My mood will be foul. I’ll be all testy, and I’ll probably end up fighting or arguing with somebody over nothing. Or worse yet, getting put out of class by a teacher who gets on that one nerve I have when I’m on.

I’ll just tell my mother I don’t feel well without being specific. Cramps won’t get it with her. If I say it’s cramps, she’ll make me go anyway. I can hear her saying something like, “Get used to it.”

If she was out of town, I could get by my Daddy. Once I told him my stomach hurts, he wouldn’t even ask. He’d just assume it was cramps, which he doesn’t want to talk about anyway, and let me stay home. My mother doesn’t believe cramps should rule your day, but they are surely in charge of mine when I have them.

I’m having a party on Saturday. It’s a pool party, and my period will be over by then, thank God! That’s the only thing keeping me going right now.

Well I’m going back to bed to pull the covers over my head. I feel like hell.

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5/2

7:05 A.M.

I had to come up here to my room to write this before I left for school. I AM SO MAD. I’m writing this while I’m still fiery mad at Jennifer Justine Edwards Hart, and the thoughts are freshly formed in my mind.

I have to go to school anyway. I swear, I am so mad I could spit nails fifty feet!!! She’s downstairs right now waiting for me so she can drop me off. She’s making me go even though I feel like any minute now I’m going to puke. My mother wasn’t buying the vague not feeling well story.

She knew what my problem was without me telling her. It seems she keeps track of my periods on her desk calendar. She goes, “Take a Midol, and get dressed”. She makes me sick knowing everything. Every time I think I can move up a rung on her, she throws me a sucker punch like this one. Why in the world would she be so interested in MY period that she would take the time to keep up with it on a calendar?????

As much as SHE does it, she needs to keep up with herself!!!! I know what she and Daddy do when they’re closed up in that room! I’m not crazy. She’s the one who told me what grown people do when they’re alone, but I’m not even going to go there.

I’ll finish this when I get back home because if she calls up here even one time about me making her wait, it’s going to be ugly. She makes me so sick!!! Everybody who doesn’t want me to throw up on their shoes had better stay out of my way all day today!

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5/2

9:15 P.M.

My goodness, was that me writing this morning? My hormones must have been raging like crazy! I think that was one of my many other PMS personalities.

Seriously though, my mother really is special to me, but this morning she really did make me so very, very angry by making me go to school with cramps. I didn’t talk to her all the way to school while she was driving me because I was so mad at her. I think my not talking to her just amused her all the more, which made me even angrier with her. Before I could get out of the car, she grabbed me and kissed me and told me, ‘Happy Birthday’, even though she knew I was mad as hell at her. She makes me sooooooooooo sick at times like these.

I was seething all the way up the walkway because I could feel her laughing at me. I was hoping the whole time she’d get a zit right smack in the middle of her forehead right on time for that formal dinner she had tonight with my father with Mr. Baker of Baker Financial. Mr. Baker is a widower, and he gives lots of dinner parties. I think he’s looking for a new mate. I know he likes looking at my mother. It’s sickening to watch him around her. He grins and fawns like an idiot. It’s so gross.

Marnie and Charmaine had decorated my locker before I got there, so there were balloons and cards and stuff taped to the door. We do that on each other’s birthdays. I almost couldn’t get into it because they had the latch and the lock covered. (Such bright girls!) We had to tear some of the stuff off so I could get in.

I was kind of surprised Marnie remembered my birthday at all. She’s been very distant to me lately. I think something’s wrong at home, but she won’t talk about it. Her mother and stepfather have been having a lot of problems, and she told me her mother was putting him out. She was glad about it because she never really liked him. But I don’t know what the real problem is for myself because my mother won’t let me go to Marnie’s any more. Her stepfather is a jerk, and my mother doesn’t trust him around me.

Marnie keeps saying she’s O.K. and I shouldn’t worry about her. But I do anyway. She’s my oldest (not in age) and dearest friend. I don’t remember doing anything to her to get her upset with me. We haven’t had an argument or anything like that. I’ll just wait and watch. That’s what my father says to do when you’re not sure about something. He says mysteries usually reveal themselves if you know how to watch, and I do know how most of the time.

The football team gave me my own team jersey. They had “JJHART and the #1″ put on the back. It’s about two sizes too big because it’s really a guy’s shirt, but that’s O.K. I like baggy jerseys.

The guys like me because I come to all the games, and I lead the real cheers in the stands, not those stiff ones the cheerleaders do. I do the raunchy ones everybody really likes and really gets into. I take the Talking Stick my father’s best friend, my ‘Uncle” Bill McDowell brought me back from Mount Bedford in the Dakota Hills. He explores up there and he found it and sent it to me. He sends me lots of things he finds like that. I wave the stick around for good luck to lead the cheers for our team and we have a ball in the stands. There’s as much to entertain you up there as there is down on the field. It’s like a big party.

Sometimes I take action on the games. Nobody’s supposed to know about that, though, so keep it on the down low. You aren’t supposed to bet on amateur games. I think even Daddy would get mad about that if he knew, but betting makes the game a lot more interesting. I don’t accept wagers over two dollars on a spread because I don’t want to break anybody. But if enough people get in the pool, it can add up.

I’m good at math because of Daddy. He taught me numbers and shapes, how to count, and how to add and subtract when I was little, all by using playing cards. He taught me probability (the odds) by teaching me to shoot craps, play Roulette and Black Jack, and to read the daily racing forms. Recently, he let me play poker at one of his games. They were short one guy, and I think he just really wanted to show off my skills. (My mother was wayyyyy out of town, of course.) The guys got mad because I ended up taking all of their money. They started saying that the Hart women play too well and that they don’t want my Daddy to invite my mother or me to play with them any more. Sore losers, I say. Daddy said so too. I gave him a cut of the take later.

We pick races in the dailies together still, but we do it when my mother isn’t around. He says that I have a gift for picking the ponies. I had a hunch and helped him win really big once, so he bought me a racehorse. My mother thinks he just did it on a whim just to spoil me. She doesn’t know the real story: that I earned TripleJHart. She nearly cursed him out and then she stopped speaking to him for a while. I think it’s better if we let her go on thinking he just gave me the horse rather than letting the cat out of the bag on the real story. She’d probably shoot him about that. He thought so too, so we’ve kept it to ourselves.

Last year I won the National Merit Award because of my standardized test scores in math. They sent the plaque to my school all the way from the White House in Washington, D.C. We had to sit on the dais, my parents and I, in order for me to receive the plaque at the Honors Awards’ Ceremony. Out of the blue, Daddy leaned over and asked my mother if she realized that vice formed the foundation of my mathematical ability. He caught her so far off guard that she nearly had a stroke,. She was trying to be dignified and all and then he said that to her. It was all I could do not to crack up laughing. He is such a clown. She has to play the straight man to him all the time.

I almost got caught taking bets earlier this year during pro football season. The Vice- Principal saw the crowd at my table in the lunchroom and came over to see what was going on. K.B. saw him coming before I did, and took the book away from me in time. He mixed it in with his stuff before I could get caught with it. Can you even begin to imagine the stretch of hard time I would have done at the Hart Correctional Facility on Willow Pond Drive if I had gotten suspended for racketeering? I would have been under maximum-security lockdown until I was twenty-one under the strict supervision of warden J.Edwards Hart. Forget about early release for good behavior. I would have just been toast. I shudder when I think about it.

You know I really do need to stop taking these kinds of chances, but I really love a good thrill!

At lunch, the boys’ and the girls’ basketball teams brought me a huge cake. Some of them are in the culinary arts program and talked the instructor into letting them do it as a project grade. My track team had a poster made for me. Some of the girls are in graphic arts, and they screen- printed it in the art room after school for extra credit. They told me that K.B. came up with the design. He studies CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) and graphic arts. He draws too. It was a big playing card, the Jack of Hearts, but the Jack had my face and my ponytail. It was ingenious! I made the Jack of Hearts my calling card because number one, it’s a heart (Hart); two, a Jack is right behind the King and the Queen; and three, Jacks can do anything. All of that is like me. I am the JJ of Harts, and Bid Whist Wizard of the lunchroom.

The cake and the poster turned into a party for everybody that ate on our lunch period. We ate all of the cake, and the lunchroom manager slipped the people at my table some ice cream (She likes my father. She got to meet him once, and she thinks he’s cute.) Somebody got the boom box in and that was it! We had a good time until the Vice- Principal came in and made us stop. He doesn’t say much to me about the things I do because I’m a good student and because of my parents.

I want to tell him so badly that it doesn’t matter about that last thing because if I’m wrong, I get it just like everybody else. Good grades or not, if I’m out of line, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart don’t let me get away with it, especially my mother. But, who am I to tell him anything different? If he wants to let money and perceived power make his decisions for him, who am I to not benefit from his lack of judgment?

K.B. bought me flowers, six yellow roses in baby’s breath. They were in a long white box and tied with a red ribbon. He gave them to me at the locker at the end of the day. They were so beautiful. Aside from the ones I’ve gotten from my father, this is the first time that a boy ever gave me flowers. It felt nice. All of my girlfriends thought it was sweet. K.B. is kind of a rugged guy now with his jeans, and his boots, but he’s cute and he’s still really nice. He still has those beautiful dimples when he smiles. He smiled at me today when he was giving me the flowers and it felt different than all the other times. He told me that he liked the boots I had on today with my jeans. They were new and he hadn’t seen them before. Milini Scott got mad about it. She likes him and she doesn’t it like that he and I are such good friends. Some girls don’t understand that a guy can be a friend without being a boyfriend. I think she did it with him and she thinks that now she has some claim to him. I’ll have to ask him; he’ll tell me if I ask. He’s one of my closest friends and we talk about everything. Giving me flowers was a very sweet gesture for the type of guy that he is. I don’t think Milini ever got flowers from him.

He’s getting a motorcycle for turning 16 in two weeks. My father is K.B.’s mentor. They had an agreement about the bike, and K.B. kept up his end. When he gets the Harley, I’m riding it. That’s all I have to say about it. You watch and see!

All in all it turned out to be a good day after all. I had a very good time. When my mother came to get me and I showed her all of the stuff people had given me, I could tell that she was pleased that people seem to like me and that I had fun. She looked kind of funny when I showed her the roses and I told her who gave them to me, but she didn’t say anything. She just smiled. I took back the zit curse I put on her earlier. Let Mr. Baker look at her in all her glory tonight. Why shouldn’t he have fun? I certainly had mine.

My mother has really nice eyes. I’ve noticed before, but today I really did. They’re honest. Everything she has to say is right there in her eyes if you know how to read them. If she gets angry and they start changing colors, watch out! They go kind of a hazel color and you know that you need to start backing up off of her.

Last year I made her really upset. I wanted to go to a party at Marnie’s but she wouldn’t let me go because of Marnie’s current stepfather, Bernard Tolbert. He’s her mother’s third husband and kind of a pig. The first was Marnie’s dad who’s been married a lot too. I sneaked out anyway, but she caught me out on the road. I thought that she was going to kill me that night for sure. That was the first time that I saw her eyes change color, and I hope I never see that again. I got my act together after that and started behaving better. When the Good Lord allowed me to keep breathing that night, I didn’t try her too much any more after that. You know, they say that redheads are crazy. I know that I have my moments…Scares me to think about it again….

But now I’m back home with this stupid period and these awful cramps. We aren’t celebrating my birthday tonight. We’re waiting until Saturday and the party to do everything. Tomorrow, I have a little work to do on the outside speakers. I’ll have to go out to the tool shed and see if I can find some solder and some wire. I’d do it tonight, but I don’t feel like it.

I’m not saying no to drugs and I’m going to bed.

Goodnight

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5/3

8:45 P.M.

I couldn’t get to the subwoofer for the speakers today. Mr. Timmons, the gardener, kept hanging around the tool shed working until it was nearly dark. It was almost like he knew that I was trying to get out there. Once it got dark, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have been able to see what I was doing without using a flashlight. That would have drawn attention and you really don’t want witnesses or to leave traceable evidence when you’re conducting a covert operation like doctoring on Daddy’s speakers. It turned out that I didn’t have to do it anyway.

My friend, Marcus called late this evening. He’s got the DJ lined up for me. He says that the guy he’s got has two subwoofers and amplifiers and for me not to worry about rewiring our speakers. I told him to tell the DJ not to bring the cursing hardcore rap music. My parents aren’t going to go for that. I love most rap music, and I don’t mind the bad words too much even though most of it is really unnecessary. But it really is disrespectful to play it around adults, especially not at the decibels that I want the music played at the party. My father could probably get around a little of it, but my mother will shut the entire party down after the very first b—-!!!

I aced my Calculus test today. I was a little nervous because I didn’t study last night. When I had those stupid cramps, I went to bed. I didn’t even eat. Daddy got all worried at first. I could hear him fussing out in the hall through my door. I guess she must have told him what was actually wrong with me because he calmed down after a bit. He doesn’t like it when I don’t eat; he knows that I’m really sick when I don’t eat. I felt better today, though and I knew the stuff on the test so I came out alright.

All through math class, though, that pervert, Craig kept looking at my legs. If my mother would stop this thing she has about me wearing a dress once a week, this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen to me. I’d just as soon wear jeans to keep guys’ eyes off me. My mother says that I should just be who I am and not let boys dictate what I choose to do and wear by their reactions to what I have on. They aren’t dictating to me, she is. I’m more comfortable in jeans and at the same time, I don’t have to deal with boys’ nasty minds being focused on my body parts.

I think she makes me wear a dress once a week just so that she can indulge her fantasy for a daughter as feminine as she is. If she’s waiting for me to soften up, she’s got a bit of a wait. She’s Cognac and I’m Jack Daniels. Some things cannot be changed no matter how hard you want them to change.

Even in jeans, though, guys are probably sizing up my behind; boys are just that nasty. I swear their every thought is sex and how to get some from somebody. You don’t see us girls sitting around constantly sizing up their body parts and thinking up ways to get them in the sack. Although, I do have to admit, some boys’ butts and thighs are better than others, especially when you’re watching them play football and basketball. Oh my! But, I would never go up to a boy and tell him that I liked his butt or his legs the way that they do with us:

 “Hey, J.J., you’re wearin’ them jeans real well, girl.

“Hey girl, how come you don’t show them legs more often?”

How about if I went up to one of them and went:

“Hey boy, I like how them jeans hug your crotch and define your tight butt like that!”

As nasty as boys are, though, they’d probably like something like that said to them.

I couldn’t find Marnie at lunchtime. She must’ve gone outside to eat. I don’t go out at lunchtime. Too much negativity happens out there during the day. Some of the kids go off and smoke cigarettes, some smoke weed, or drink beer or wine that they’ve ripped off from the liquor store. A lot of them are people that I know, (I know everybody, and or they know me.) but I can’t afford to get caught up in that just because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I like thrills, but not that kind. Couldn’t you just see it in all the papers?

“J.J. Hart, daughter of prominent industrialist, Jonathan Hart and his journalist wife, Jennifer Edwards Hart was caught today smoking a joint and knocking back a forty ounce behind the school while she was supposed to be in school having lunch.

See her parents’ livid reaction at eleven.

Mother to be arraigned on charges of child abuse in the morning.”

What a scandal!! Not that I want to smoke weed or drink beer or anything like that, but it would be nice to know that I could get into trouble without worrying about having my parents’ names dragged through the mud with mine because I messed up. I try not to get into too much heavy stuff like that anyway because I don’t like being put on lockdown, and my mother is quick with that particular form of penalty. It’s her favorite for me. She knows how much I hate being confined. If the sun is out, so am I.

I just emailed Marnie to see what was up. She got somebody to forge her mother’s signature on her ‘missing homework’ note today that the teacher sent from English Literature yesterday. She tried to get me to do that for her once, but friendship only goes so far. Forgery isn’t my M.O. I try not to do too many things that can be traced back to me. We have two classes together and lately she never has her work. She’s been getting low grades on her tests for about a month. I’ll try to catch up with her and see if I can do anything to help. She’s my friend. I have to keep trying.

My parents went out to a cocktail party at the Senator’s house tonight. It’s an election year and they get invited out a lot during these times. The election campaign fund courting comes in the disguise of dinners and cocktail parties. Daddy explained to me that it’s just a byproduct of being in his position in the corporate world. People want that Hart money in their coffers real badly.

My parents looked so good when they left. They both wore black. When she came down the stairs (She always makes him wait.) you could tell from the way that he looked at her that he was proud that she was going to be with him tonight. Her dress was beautiful. I don’t like school dresses, but I do like to dress up in dresses. She looked good. Her dress had a kind of low cut front and the skirt was slim with a split up the side. It was a tasteful split, though. She wouldn’t have worn it if it hadn’t been tasteful. I would have, though, if I was going out on the town in it and I had her legs. My mother was a dancer for many years, and she still runs and works out, so she has nice legs. She won’t let me wear black dresses yet even though it’s a good color on both of us. She says that I’m too young for black. Just wait until I’m old enough!

She came right in and straightened Daddy’s tie even though I had already done it. He let her anyway. It didn’t look crooked to me. They just have to be up on each other all the time. It’s creepy. Parents shouldn’t be in love like that. It’s unnatural.

My mother is gregarious. She talks to everybody at these events they attend. She knows so much and is so pleasant that people love to talk with her, especially men. I’ve seen Daddy do this thing sometimes at functions I’ve attended with them. If a man ties her up too long in conversation, he’ll get a waiter or somebody to tell the guy that he has a phone call. The guy leaves to take his bogus call, and Daddy moves in to take back his wife. At the Country Club he does it all the time.

I wonder if anybody will ever feel about me the way that he feels about her? Probably not; I’m not as soft and sweet as she is. I don’t think that I’m as easy to like. I don’t know of many people that actively dislike me, but you never know how people really feel about you.

Before they left, he told me to stay out of the liquor cabinet and to not let boys in the house. Real funny, Daddy. I don’t drink anything other than wine, which I only have on special occasions with them and during the two weeks at my Great-aunt Sabrina’s (whenever I want it.) And as for boys, skip that. They only want one thing, and I’m not donating to that cause. I just don’t need him saying stuff like that in front of my mother and giving her ideas. As it is, she’s always on me about something.

Even though they’re gone, I’m not all alone tonight, Marie is downstairs, but she’s not here to watch me. I’m old enough to stay alone and there’s so much security here on Willow Pond that you can get electrocuted or shot if you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going. Daddy says that my mother got paranoid about safety after I was born and that’s why there’s a virtual force field around here at night. Knowing what I know about the wiring and all, this place is pretty secure inside and out.

Well, I’ve done my homework, and I’ve finished the novel I was reading. There’s nothing on television. How you can have 125 channels and nothing good on any of them, I don’t know, but that’s the case tonight. I’ve read my emails, including the one from Jennifer E. Hart warning me not to be on the phone all night just because she’s out for the evening. (She covers all of her bases with me.) Third is up here on my bed sleeping already.

So, I guess I’ll just go on to bed…. after I call Charmaine, Steve, K.B., the Psychic Hotline, and….

Good Night

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5/4

9:17 P.M.

Finally- the DJ is all lined up. I talked to him today and told him about the music. He said he’d keep it clean, and that he understood my concerns. He said that a party at a multi-million dollar estate had to handled a little differently than his regular Saturday night gigs at the clubs in LA. He’ll scratch through the few curse words that he can’t edit out. That’ll work. It’s not the multi-million dollar estate thing that concerns me. I declare I just don’t want my mother’s East Coast roots offended by our West Coast ways. I’m telling you, she’ll shut it all the way down, period. She has no problems with embarrassing me in front of my company if stuff starts getting out of hand!

It’s a pool party and it’s my first night pool party. I am so excited! Everybody’s coming. Even a few of my friends that go away to school are coming home for the party. Ollie is coming in from Baltimore and Wesley is coming from Massachusetts with his friend, Beau who’s from North Carolina. Ollie is nice, but he’s so boring. But Wesley, now he’s going to be fun. He likes to fly like I do. He has his pilot’s license already. I’m working on mine. (My mother doesn’t know. Shhhh!) He’s a little over two years older than I am, but we’ve known each other a long time. His folks live here in Bel Air and they are friends with my parents. His mother went to college with my mother.

My father says that he doesn’t like how Wesley’s been ‘eyeing’ me lately when he comes home. I don’t really notice him looking at me funny. We just have a good time. He has a good sense of humor, he likes sports, and he likes to have fun. He also treats me like an equal, not like I’m younger and not like I’m just a girl. We really do talk about things. Daddy is getting to be a head case when it comes to boys and me.

I wonder what Beau is like. I’ve never met a Beau before. Nice name. I hope he has a southern accent. Wouldn’t that was just be the limit.

My father is having a poker game the night of the party. That’s supposed to be his diversion, but he’ll still be somewhere watching. He hired private security to patrol inside and outside the gates. But it won’t be right unless he’s somewhere walking through the party making sure that the boys know that Jonathan Hart is the one lifting his leg in the corners and on the bushes of Willow Pond. He’s the big dog, and they need to recognize that the grounds and all that reside therein are his territory, and that those small dogs should act accordingly.

My mother took me on Rodeo Drive this afternoon after school to get a new swimsuit for the party. She let me buy a two- piece. It’s really pretty. She wouldn’t go for the skimpy black one like I wanted, so I got the nearly nude powder blue instead. She bought a cover up for my bottom for when I’m not in the pool. She says that I don’t need to be sending out signals if I’m not trying to direct the traffic to me. I definitely don’t want any one-lane traffic of my own that night. I just want to have a good time with all the guys who show up. She had my hair, nails and toes done too while we were there, and now I’m ready to rumble.

I called Marnie twice, but she hasn’t called me back yet. I wonder what’s wrong with her. She was supposed to meet Charmaine, Sewoo, and me to go shopping last Saturday, but she didn’t come and she didn’t call to say what happened. We waited and waited for her, but she didn’t show. It was very rude, but I know there’s something more to it. Marnie loves to shop. She was supposed to be going with us today on Rodeo and she loves to go there. But I never heard from her, so my mother said we had to go on without her.

I don’t like this. Marnie and I have always done things together. I’m still waiting and watching.

Good Night

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5/5

8:56 P.M.

End of my period, praise God!! I would have died if it lingered any longer. The party is Saturday and I don’t want anything in my way, especially not something like that. That would have been a definite party pooper.

Marnie was crying in the restroom at school today. The girls came and got me, but by the time I got there, she had stopped and was telling me that nothing was wrong. I wanted to slap her because I knew she was lying to me, but that wouldn’t have solved anything. Then we just would’ve been mad at each other on top of whatever else is wrong. I’m learning to control my bad temper, but I still have the thoughts.

I sure hope that her problems won’t keep her from my party. She is the party. I have fun because she’s there. She says that she likes to be in my ‘orbit’ because all the boys want to be with me and she gets the fallout. I don’t know how true that it is, but she is so crazy and so funny the boys all like to be with her. She’s more into boys than I am. She always is going out with one boy or another, but when they start acting all hot and start pressing her for it, she drops them. Neither of is ready for the heavy stuff yet. I’m not ready for anything much.

My mother was a little down today because Marcia, her boss on her latest project has been holding her up on one of her articles. I heard her on the phone talking to Marcia and she sounded angry. My mother doesn’t get too passionate about things in general unless it’s about my father, her father, her writing, or me. I heard her telling my father earlier that she wants to turn up the heat on this company that she’s been doing the research on. She’s uncovered some information that might be damaging concerning the employees’ efforts to unionize and what she thinks is the company’s pattern of retaliation against them. She’s been researching the complaints. He told her to be very careful because when it comes to union issues, people don’t play around. Marcia wants her to back off because she’s afraid of my mother getting hurt. Marcia ought to know better than to say that to her even if that’s what she felt. Harts don’t back up from a fight if the cause is just.

When she got off the phone, I went in to see if there was anything she needed me to do before I went out on the patio to do my homework. She was sitting and holding her head like she was getting one of her headaches. When I went in to her and asked her what she needed, she said,

“Just come here and give your mama a hug. Make me feel better.”

I did and I felt better for her. She doesn’t make too many hug requests. She usually fills them. Even though she’s usually breathing down my neck, she’s fascinating to me, and I love trying to figure her out.

I used to be mad at her a lot when I was younger; I still don’t know why. I just stayed mad at her all the time, and then something happened to make me see the light and adjust my bad attitude. She got very sick with pneumonia. It was last year during the time that I was really, really going through my brat stage. I couldn’t stand myself; I was such a brat. We didn’t know that she was so sick. Daddy was out of town and I was the one to find her in her bedroom unconscious. It was so scary. She was in the hospital for a while. Even now if the pollen count gets too high it affects her breathing. Her getting sick like that made me realize that I needed to grow up and get it together with her. I really don’t know what I’d do or be without her. She grew up without her mother. I came close, and it was no joke.

I wanted to talk to her and tell her about Marnie, but she has enough on her mind right now. I’ll wait until all of this article stuff is off of her.

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5/6

7:35 P.M.

Everything is set. All day at school everybody was buzzing about the party and asking me stuff. I think more people are coming than I originally planned for, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

The pool area is all set up. Daddy had these huge grills brought in. There’s a big tent where the food will be served, and cabanas for people to change clothes. Deck chairs have been delivered. The laundry will bring towels in the morning. A platform for the DJ was delivered early today.

I’m having trouble breathing, and it’s not the pollen; I’m just so excited. It better not rain or do anything else weather-wise to spoil things. My parents have spared no expense, and I don’t want any of this to go to waste. The only thing that’s not perfect is this thing with Marnie. How do you help somebody that won’t let you?

She’s flunking everything. I’ve been checking with the people in her other classes, and they say she never does homework. She fails all the exams. Up to now Marnie has always done well in school. At our school you have to keep your grades up or they kick you out. I’ll die if Marnie doesn’t get to stay. Her mother will put her back in private school if she flunks out of the program, and I could go back with her if I chose to, but I’m not going. I like it where I am. But I like it with Marnie there. She’s going to have to do something about this situation.

My mother must sense that something is up. She asked me today at breakfast if everything was all right between the two of us. I tried to be cagey and asked her what made her think there might be a problem. She said it was because Marnie hadn’t been around as much. She’s right. Lately, it’s just been KB. He does things with my father, so they spend time together. Sometimes I’ll look around and K.B. is pulling up in the car with Daddy where they/they’ve been somewhere together hanging out. I told my mother that Marnie was having some problems, but that things would work out in time. She seemed to accept that for now. She usually doesn’t press me too hard on things like that. She knows that if it’s really bad, I’ll come running to her before too long.

Both of my parents are very real and very supportive. They don’t lie to me, and they don’t sugar coat things. My father is a practical man and he speaks to my mind. I believe that he and I think alike. We see things alike. That’s because we are both left-brained people. My mother, who’s definitely right-brained, speaks to my heart. She makes me think about what my impulses are trying to get me to do and gets me to judge and weigh things. When I’m ready to run off half-cocked, she’s the one that says “Wait!” and makes me look at things from another perspective and gets me to take time to perhaps adjust my thinking.

My parents are older than most of my friends’ parents, but that might just be an advantage. They have experience and patience on their side, which is a benefit for me as their kid. My friends are always telling me how lucky I am to have the Harts as my parents. Everybody knows and likes them. My friends are comfortable here. God knows what he’s doing when he assigns certain kids to certain parents, I say to that statement.

Tonight my Daddy came in to my room and asked me if I was all set for tomorrow. I told him that I could hardly wait. He said that he had something special for me but that he couldn’t tell me what it was, but that I would like it. Now why did he do that? I won’t be able to sleep wondering what it is. He knows that I’m nosy. Don’t you hate when people play with your head like that?

Good night.

__________________________________________ 

5/8

1:45 P.M.

If I died and went to heaven right this minute, I’d be O.K. with it! I had such a good time last night! The party was wonderful!!!!

I woke up at 1:00 this afternoon. I have never in my life slept this late!! I’ve never been allowed to sleep real late, but nobody came and woke me up today.

There were at least a hundred kids here last night. My father thinks that there were many more than that, but it probably just looked like that to him. Let’s see, where should I start?

The DJ, Andre, set up and I knew from the start that he was going to be good. When he was testing his speakers, you could feel the vibration (the boom from the bass) way up in my room, which is on the other end of the house from the pool area. Oh Yeah!

My mother clamped her hands over her ears on the first test. I told her she’d get used to it, just like I did with those cramps earlier this week. She gave me a look like I was crossing the line, so I left her alone. But I meant what I said. Payback is sweet, Jennifer.

The caterers served up burgers, hot dogs, pizza rolls – every kind of junk food imaginable; junk food that I don’t usually get to eat. No tofu. No salads. Just grease, fat, and calories. My mother had to cut Daddy off at about 10:30. By that time, he had given himself heartburn, and she had to give him bicarbonate of soda to keep him from puking. He loves junk food, but she doesn’t let him eat it. We sneak and eat it on the Saturdays that we go flying. If she catches him with it, or smells it on his breath, she gives him the blues. I don’t get as close to her as he does, so the breath thing is not a problem for me. That’s why we started keeping mints on the plane. He shoves some in his pockets for the ride in the car home too. Then she smells the mints, and figures that he’s masking something and gives him the blues anyway. He can’t win with her. I don’t know why he tries.

People started coming by the carload at 7:00. I think all the teams were represented, including golf and chess. The football and basketball boys were things of beauty in their swim trunks, my word!! I’m not judging body parts here. I’m just stating facts. Thighs and good butts for days! And when they’re wet! Somebody hand me a fan!

I stayed upstairs getting ready until 8:00. My mother says that a lady needs to make a proper entrance. I put on my new bikini and the beautiful shawl that my mother tied around my waist the way that she wears hers. She says that I have a waist like a wasp, whatever that means. I left my hair down and I went barefoot. Before I went downstairs, she told me to come with her into her room.

I don’t go in there often because that’s their space. The only time I really go is if one of them calls me into the room. I’m usually in trouble when that happens, so needless to say the vibes aren’t the best for me in there. It’s the one place in the house that is unfamiliar to me.

She handed me a bracelet box from Winston’s Custom Jewelry. She said that she’d bought me something that I could wear to the party. I opened the box and found that she had an ankle bracelet designed for me. It had a twisted cable chain and in the middle were two scripted J’s encrusted with tiny diamonds. (She knows that I love diamonds!!!) It was beautiful. She doesn’t normally buy me things like this. Usually it’s Daddy who buys us jewelry. This really surprised me. I think it’s a sign that she thinks that I’m mature enough to finally have one. Up to now she kept saying that I was too young. She wears one on her ankle, and I always admired hers. Now I have my own that’s made just for me.

She looked me over, turning me all around, I guess making sure that all the good parts were properly tucked in. She frowned at my boobs and pulled up on my top. I have some now, for real. She took one of her hair clips and swept part of my hair up into it to keep it out of my face; I have so much hair, but I like it long so I just deal with it. She told me that she loved me, and that she was proud of how well I’ve turned out so far as a person even though I still have my incorrigible moments.

Then she said that I was very pretty. Now that was really something! We don’t discuss our looks too much with each other. She is beautiful, absolutely, and I do look like her. It’s so evident now that even I can see it. I know that I’m pretty only because I look like her, but I don’t dwell on it. It even gets in the way sometimes. But there’s some other quality to my mother’s appearance that I don’t have that’s a step up from me. I haven’t figured out what the difference is yet.

She told me to have a good time at the party and to be a lady. I said I would try. That was the best I could do with that. Things can sometimes happen at a real good party that can take you out of your element no matter how genuine your original intentions might have been. If that music gets too good, or the jokes get too funny, or somebody breaks out the cards and some money, stuff can happen. And my parties are usually good ones. I usually get into trouble at least once at every one I’ve had so far. I told myself that I would really try to be good at this party, after all, I am fifteen now.

We walked downstairs together.

My father was at the bar having a drink with his poker pals. I could tell right off that he was going to be Daddy all night despite the card game and his company. His eyes started assessing my outfit and my hair as soon as he saw me. They went from the top of my head to the toe ring on my naked feet. I saw my mother check him right back with her eyes:

Jonathan, she’s growing up!

Jennifer, does she have to?

He did give me a kiss and he told me to have fun. Yeah right! That was because it wasn’t going to be too long before he was outside right behind me. So it was like, “Have fun until Jennifer turns her back and I can make a break for the back door, J.J.!”

I left them and went on outside to the party. As soon as I stepped out, Andre cranked it up. He played a 70’s or 80’s song that I really like that my parents always play at their New Year’s Eve parties. It’s called “Celebration”, and was made by a group called Kool and the Gang. It sounds just like it was made for a real good party.

I’ve never danced so much in my life! At one point, Charmaine, Derrick, Juan, and Brian were showing everybody a South Central, LA step and everybody was shocked that a rich white girl like me could do it like that. Yeah, I got it like that too! I love to dance and I can dance. I was moving right with them, step for step.

By that time, Daddy was outside with my mother. They watched us dancing. I think my parents were amazed as well. I know my mother was probably saying something to herself about the ‘common’ things I’ve been exposed to in public school, as well as pondering the reason for my complete rejection of ballet lessons when I was little. She should have made it modern dance. I might have agreed to that.

Later the DJ called out that it was Hustle time. We started dancing when the old Hustle record by Stevie Wonder was played. Guess what? My mother and my father can Hustle- the new Latin one with all the steps!! Andre kept calling out the moves, and they could do them- and did do them- right in the middle of all of us kids! I was amazed this time! They said they learned it when we were Brazil last year. They stopped the show at my party! Are parents supposed to do that????

At the end of the cut, my father told the boys to gather around; that he was going to show them how to really dance with a woman. He told Andre to play it again and they did the Jitterbug. At first I could have just died, but then people started grabbing partners and doing it with them following their moves. Wesley’s cute friend, Beau, with the southern accent no less, grabbed me. He said he learned it from his parents. At that point, I had to admit that I knew how to do it too. I learned from my parents at the Country Club dances and from my Daddy in the living room at home. He dances with me all the time. He is an excellent dancer. She is too. I guess that I got it from both of them.

At the end of the song, my Daddy swung my mother around and they were breathless with laughter. They love each other so much it makes everybody around them happy, especially me.

Wesley is playing football at school and it’s making him really muscular and big. The last time that I saw him he was much thinner. He told me that he liked my eyes. I changed the subject and asked him how he was doing at school. He didn’t need to be looking at my eyes and getting attached to any part of me. I don’t want that baggage! Maybe Daddy had seen something was up with Wesley after all. I dodged that missile.

We got to talk a little bit about planes. He’s going to come over later today and ask Daddy if he can drive me out to the airport to look at Valentine, our plane. Ollie and I danced a few times together. He is very nice, a good dancer, but he’s just so shy and boring. I think I intimidate him. I don’t mean to, but he seems to get tongue-tied around me. He never really has anything to say no matter how much I try to get him to talk.

K.B. was there, of course. He danced two slow dances with me. You know, (I’d only say this here) it felt kind of strange but nice at the same time, to slow dance with a boy in my swimsuit, skin to skin. Sort of ran chills through me. I liked the feeling! He’s kind of built too.

K.B. told me in confidence that my father gave him the instruction that he wanted to see light between the boys and me on the slow dances. I guess he was supposed to be playing big brother and keeping an eye on me, but K.B. can’t do anything with me! There wasn’t a whole lot of light between him and me while we danced, I noticed. Even he had his problems. My mother told me that happens to boys sometimes when they slow dance with girls because they’re young and they aren’t always in control of their bodily functions. I knew that he couldn’t help it. He wanted to back up from me, but I told him it was alright. I didn’t want him to be embarrassed by somebody else seeing him. I would only slow dance with K.B., though. I don’t trust anybody else to act right, especially in that condition. KB knows me and wouldn’t try anything. He knows, too, that my Daddy will break his neck if he even thought about doing anything out of the way with it.

Wesley wanted to dance with me on a slow song, but I didn’t think I should in that swimsuit. I didn’t think that Daddy would have liked it at all since Wesley’s seventeen. Besides, Daddy was still on the prowl outside with us checking out anything male near me. He tried to be low key, but he’s Jonathan Hart and there’s no such thing.

Marnie did come to the party. She seemed happier. She danced and talked with all the boys like she usually does. Beau seemed very attracted to her. I know that they exchanged phone numbers. Her suit was beautiful, indicative of her excellent taste. She likes clothes and looking good. We didn’t get to talk much though since I was busy entertaining my guests.

Near the end of the party, Daddy came out and said that my surprise was on its way up the drive from the gate. I had no idea what it could be if it was big enough to be coming up the driveway. Not long after he said that, I heard someone calling,

“Cherie! Cherie! Ma petite Coeur! Ma Justine!”

It was my great-aunt, Sabrina, all the way from France! She’d come for my birthday just to see me! Aunt Sabrina is my late grandmother’s twin sister, and she is just all there is when it comes to having fun. I visit her in France every summer. You would not believe that she is over seventy years old. My mother calls her a Bohemian, but I say she’s just a non-conformist. She still has that huge country house. When I’m there I eat what I want, I come and go like I want, we shop all the time, we sleep late, we stay up late, we read trashy stuff; it’s so great!!! I stay with her by myself, and then my mother, and sometimes my father comes for me after two weeks. Even her housekeeper and her cook are fun. Eva, the cook let’s me help her in the kitchen. I’m learning to cook French food. If we stay for a while longer after my mother gets there, Aunt Sabrina and I clean up our act. We don’t want anyone to know that I’m having so much fun and consequently not let me go back the next year.

There’s a boy there who likes me. His name is Emil and he visits his aunt next door at the same time that I visit mine. He’s a lot of fun, but he kissed me last summer while we were out walking in the countryside one afternoon. It felt kind of good even though I told him not to do that any more unless he asked me first.

I told Aunt Sabrina about it. She said that it was O.K. to kiss but that I mustn’t let him touch anything but my lips!

She said to me, “My Jennifer sent only one baby to me here in Perpignan and I will be sending only one baby back there to my Jennifer in California. You do nothing else with Emil but the kissing.”

Aunt Sabrina does not care what she says. She’ll say anything in front of anybody. She does not bite her tongue. I wonder if my grandmother was anything like her. Probably so, after all they were identical twins. I love Europeans and their relaxed attitudes about that sort of thing! I did not tell my mother about the kiss. After the K.B. thing I’m not going there with her again.

The crowd parted as my mother brought Aunt Sabrina through. I was so surprised to see her. She hugged me up in her arms and squeezed me so hard I thought she was going to break a rib!

“Ma Justine, look at you! You are so beautiful. Just like my Jennifer only much more happy-” She held me back from her and looked me up and down. “And much more naked!”

Then she leaned into me and whispered wickedly in my ear, “Comment va-t-il ce bâtard chauve, ton grand-père?”

All in her beautiful French accent.

My friends that were gathered around us laughed, even though I know most of them didn’t get that last part that was in French. I don’t blush easily, but she caught me off guard with her comment and her question. I couldn’t laugh like I wanted to about her asking after my ‘bald bastard’ of a grandfather with my mother standing right there. Aunt Sabrina can’t stand Pa. She never, ever calls him by name. I shouldn’t laugh when she does that. After all, he is my grandfather and a pretty sweet old guy, but funny is funny. And then she’d called me naked in front of all those boys and my father. I didn’t know how to react; it really caught me off guard. My mother was standing right behind her, and she actually stuck her tongue out at me when she saw me turn red. I know she was retaliating for my earlier smart remark to her about her getting used to the speakers. Payback is sweet, I told you. She got me on that one that time.

Aunt Sabrina gave me a beautiful ring. It was my birthstone, and emerald, surrounded by fifteen tiny diamonds. I love, love, love diamonds!!!

She mentioned to me that she brought some books that she wanted me to read to her. (She says that she doesn’t see that well any more. I just think that she gets a kick out of the dramatizations that I put into my oral readings.) She said that I would like them. That means that they must be sizzling hot. I can’t wait.

Then she went into the house with my mother to get settled and to join the poker game. Daddy and his friends got fleeced real good once she sat down at the table. She’s lethal. That’s another on the list of Daddy’s female relatives who isn’t allowed to play with the boys anymore. Sore, sore losers!

One other really nice thing that my parents did during the party was that they had two pictures of me with each of them projected onto both sides of the big white food tent like two huge murals. They filled the entire two sides. On one side there was a picture of Daddy and me on his horse, Jack. I was a month old and I was tied to Daddy’s chest so that I could ride safely with him. I was smiling. He said that as soon as my mother said, “Cheese” to him, I smiled. She didn’t believe that my smiles were real until that happened. See, that’s the point where I messed up with her and lost control of this relationship. I let her see what I had, and she peeped my cards early in life. She’s had the upper hand ever since that day.

On the other side of the tent was a picture of my mother and me. I was about three. We were together on her horse, Daisy Mae. Daddy took this one at the ranch. She was holding me around the waist as I sat in front of her on the horse, and she was pointing at something that she was showing me off in the distance. You can see my eyes were following her hand. It’s kind of a deep picture. You have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate what I’m saying, but it kind of sums up this relationship that we have going, her and me.

All in all, my fifteenth birthday party is a high point in my life so far. Let’s see what Sweet Sixteen brings next year!!!!

Good Afternoon

__________________________________________

5/8

9:57 P.M.

Wesley came over in his father’s car at about three this afternoon and asked my father if he could take me to the airport to see our plane and then out to eat. Of course Daddy gave him the third degree, and then he told him to be sure to have me back before dark.

Before dark! Can you believe that? I was so embarrassed, I could have melted into the floor. I’m fifteen years old and I can’t stay out after dark? I looked to my mother for help. All she could do was shrug her shoulders. Aunt Sabrina leaned forward in her chair and started to say something to Daddy, but my mother put her hand on her shoulder to stop her. It was a done deal.

When I got back, before dark, Aunt Sabrina and I closed up in my room to read her books. I asked her what she thought about what Daddy did to me. She just said,

“Jonathan loves you, and he cares about you, Justine. Your beauty makes him nervous, just like your goat of a grandfather was with my Jennifer. He was pig with her.”

She pretended like she was spitting.

“You are his only one, ma Cherie, just like a precious jewel. Be patient with him. You go on being the good girl that you are. This with him will pass.”

That from her is not what I wanted to hear.

I read her books to her until she fell asleep on my bed. When she did, I finished them myself. They were scorchers! My mother would just die, probably, if she knew what her aunt was teaching me! But come to think of it, she used to hang out with Aunt Sabrina herself on vacations in France when she was my age, so she probably already knows what’s going on with us. She seems to know everything else that I do; my period dates, my late night phone calls, and everything else. That’s probably why she won’t let me stay in France by myself with her longer than two weeks. I wonder if she knows about Emil and that kiss and just isn’t saying anything????

My father and I are going to have to have a serious talk about his insecurity issues, though. Right now I’m mad at him and I’m not speaking to him. I’m going to bed after I call Marnie because I’m giving myself a headache being so mad at my father. I think I’m going to leave him on hold for about a week. That will teach him a lesson about trying to treat me like a child.

Good night.

__________________________________________

5/8

11:05

Don’t you just hate it when you’re mad at somebody, and you want to stay mad at the person for a while, and then they go and do something to make you stop being angry with them?

Daddy came in here and sat on the side of my bed. I folded my arms and I tried to glare at him, but he winked at me and smiled and broke me right on down. He has such a great smile that when he smiles; you do too, even if you don’t want to. My poor mother didn’t stand a chance that day that she met him in London for the first time if he smiled at her right away. If he put the moves on her with that smile then she had to have been putty from day one.

He told me that it wasn’t me that he didn’t trust; it was Wesley. He says that boys sometimes take advantage of girls, especially if they’re younger. He said that since Wesley has been away at school for two years, he is knows more about how to maneuver than I do. He said that since I don’t date yet, I don’t have a lot of experience with boys. I told him that I might not have a lot of experience, but that didn’t make me stupid and naive. All of my life, my mother has been teaching me about how to conduct myself, what to look for and what to do. I told him, too, what she said about that slow dancing thing that happens to boys, as a graphic example of what I know. He got real red in the face. I knew that he knew that I had been well informed and from a very reliable source. I asked him to please try to just trust me and to trust in my judgment.

I told him that if it happened that I did anything with a boy, like kiss or have sex, it would be because I chose to not because some boy talked me into it; I have my own mind. But, if it turned about to be a case where somebody makes me do something against my will, like puts something in my drink and/or rapes me or something, then he had my full permission hunt them down like a beast and kill them like I know he would.

He looked at me real funny after I said all that. He told me good night and then he got up. I could tell that he was on his way to have a serious conversation with Jennifer Hart and more than likely, her aunt would get in it.

Let the three of them duke it out. I’ve said my piece. I’m not mad any more, and I’m going to sleep for good this time.

Good Night

__________________________________________

5/10

8:39 P.M.

I’m getting sick of this thing with Marnie. She was supposed to come home with me today so that I could help her with her math. We talked briefly in the hall and she agreed that she needed to get it together before she got kicked out of the program.

Charmaine told me at lunch today that she thought she saw Marnie and Craig kissing hot and heavy in his car on Friday of last week, but I find that hard to believe. Marnie would have told me if she were messing around with Craig. Besides, Craig is a senior and we’re just sophomores. He and most of the female student body think he’s God’s gift to mankind everywhere. He thinks that he can get with anyone he wants. Well that’s not quite everybody. It certainly doesn’t include Justine Hart. So, why try it with my little sophomore friend, Marnie? But, then again, she’s female…He’s a guy, so why not?

At the last minute she tells me that she’s not coming home with me today. She told me that she was staying after for tutoring in math. Marnie doesn’t like math and she was supposed to be working with me here at the house on her math. The last couple of times I tried to help her, she kept trying to get me to just do it for her, but I wouldn’t. I told her that if she came here, I’d show her. The only thing that Marnie will stay after school for that isn’t mandatory detention is a dance or if I have something to do and she’s waiting for me.

I had told my mother last night that Marnie was coming home with us, so she was expecting both of us to be in the car when she came to pick us up this afternoon. She had to take Aunt Sabrina to the airport earlier in the day and see a publisher this afternoon before she came for us so that meant that she had been running around, and she was tired. She got really mad when she found out that Marnie wasn’t coming. She doesn’t like it when we change up on what we tell her we’re going to do, and on top of it her nerves were already kind of frayed. She’s a very methodical person and she likes for details to stay in order, especially when it comes to things and people that she’s in charge of keeping in line.

She ratted Marnie out to her mother by leaving a message on her mother’s answering machine. Marnie told me that she was getting a ride to our house after her tutoring session, which is kind of raggedy if you think about it. If she was on the level about what she was doing, why would she come back to my house? Why not just get her ride to take her home? It sounded to me like she didn’t want her mother to know that she wasn’t at my house the whole time. Marnie knows Jennifer Hart well enough to know that frail story she was trying to tell wasn’t going to hold up to the kind of scrutiny it was going to get from her.

When Marnie got dropped off, J.J., Sr. let her have it. I went upstairs so that I wouldn’t have to hear it. It’s bad enough when it happens to me. I didn’t want to be embarrassed for Marnie. That’s even worse. By the time I came back down, Marnie’s mother had come and picked her up. Marnie ran out before her mother could come in and talk to my mother. That didn’t matter. The Investigative Reporter had that beat covered already. The message was waiting patiently for Marnie’s mother on her machine at their house.

I hope Marnie’s alright. I just can’t get her to say what the problem is. I keep asking her, but she says nothing is wrong. I’m starting to feel a little down about it myself. I don’t have a sister, so she’s the closest I’ll ever come to having one. I thought that she felt the same way about me. I went down to try to talk with my mother but she was on the phone letting Marcia have an earful. It wasn’t a good time to be in her orbit. Her day hadn’t been the best and Marcia must have been getting on her nerves. My mother was really going off on her. I’ll let my issues wait.

Daddy owed me for a card game we played. He lost 22.00. He already owed me .80 from another game, and he paid me tonight when he got home. I’m going to use it to buy him some canisters of those special tennis balls that he likes. Then I’m going to take him out on the court on Saturday and make him use them. He has a wicked backhand, but mine is even more sinister. We make each other sweat bullets when we play each other. He’s probably good enough to go semi-pro, but his back gets tight after a few sets and that slows him down. He thinks I’m pretty good and he wants me to compete more, but I just have fun with it.

I play in the tournaments at the Club sometimes and I win a lot. I’ve done some regional tournaments too at school and I did well. I’ve been in the paper a couple of times for winning tennis tournaments, but I don’t want to put the time and dedication into something I’m not that serious about doing. Tennis for me is just fun. Track is my passion. I love to run and I am going all out for that. I’d like to go to the Olympics one day to compete. Wouldn’t it be something if I got the Gold for the U.S.A.?

My mother won’t play with tennis me any more unless its doubles at the Country Club or doubles out back on our court. Then she wants me to call me in to play with her for backup like a fair-weather friend. She says that I’m too aggressive to play with one-on-one. Now maybe it’s just me, but it’s my contention that any woman who’ll play polo on a field with real live, running horses should not fear anything like a tennis ball coming at her.

As much as I like action and moving fast, even I won’t play polo, but she does it with a passion. I’m scared to death for her at every match. Daddy doesn’t really care for her playing polo either, but he can’t say anything to her about it. He plays himself on the men’s team, but he really doesn’t like her playing the game.

The woman is vicious with a polo mallet. In all the time that she’s been playing, she hasn’t been seriously injured, but once she fell from her horse during a match, and I thought Daddy was going to have a heart attack. The way that he turned white and jumped up out of his seat, he scared me more than her falling off the horse did. He was afraid of her being hurt or getting trampled, but she got right back up and got right back on her horse. Her team is awesome! She’s the captain, and the other women on the team are younger, but she is by far the most aggressive player. But, let her tell the story, she’s afraid of my little backhand…

I sure hope that Marnie isn’t doing anything that she can’t take back or fix once it’s done.

Good night.

__________________________________________

5/11

7:56 P.M.

If that Craig spends one more class period with his eyes all over me, I swear I’m going to lose it! Every time I look up, there he is staring at me. He has to know that I can’t stand him with his huge head. I never say anything to encourage him other than “hello”, but still he always stares. Charmaine says that he has the hots for me. That’s just too bad if he does. He’ll go up in flames and incinerate all by himself, before he gets anything out of me. I’m not the one. He can just go play that game with one of the airhead cheerleaders or one of those flakes on the Pep Squad. I don’t flatter that easily.

I talked to Marnie at lunch. She said that she was sorry that she bailed on me yesterday, and she was sorry that she’d upset my mother. I told her that I was sorry that I hadn’t reminded her that leaving my mother hanging like that wouldn’t be a good thing to do. I asked her why she decided to stay after. She told me that she thought she was leaning on me too hard for support, so she thought she’d just stay for tutoring in the math room.

I didn’t say it to her but that was the biggest crock of crap! I have always been the stronger one academically in this friendship. It’s never bothered her before to come to me for help. She’s been doing it since the first grade. She quit private school when I did just so she could be with me. I have always been there for Marnie when she needed help with her work. She’s not slow or anything. It’s just that it come easier to me than her, so I can help her when she needs it. Her mother likes me because I do that for her, as well as give her the skinny on sex and stuff.

Marnie can be such a dope about things like that. She once tried to argue with me saying that you couldn’t get pregnant the first time that you have sex, like it’s bingo or something. You know, like you get the free spot filled for nothing. I had to set her straight before she went out there and got a big surprise thinking that she got a bonus free first screw.

I have to give it to my mother on that. She does not hold back about sex. Whatever I ask her, she tells me. I think that’s another benefit of having an older parent. She isn’t embarrassed to talk to me about anything because she’s probably done, or seen, or has knowledge of it all. It’s easy to talk to her about those kinds of things because she just tells you, she doesn’t judge or preach. One time we were talking and I told her how scary it was that Marnie didn’t seem to have the right information. My mother explained to me that she’d rather that I heard it directly from her so that she could be sure that if I went out and messed up it wouldn’t be because I just didn’t know any better. That’s why I go ahead and tell Marnie the stuff that I know when she starts talking all crazy and acting uninformed.

We have a history project that’s due soon. I’m going to invite Marnie over to work on hers. I know that she hasn’t done it. Mine is finished, so I can spend the time with her.

You know, I think my mother is worried about me or something. She’s doing that watching thing again when she thinks I’m not looking, and at night, she comes in and checks on me. She doesn’t actually come in. She just opens the door and peeks in. When she thinks I’m O.K. and that I’m asleep, she goes back out. I really don’t want to bother her. I’d like for all of this to play itself out on its own. I don’t know if she has the thing with Marcia worked out and that’s enough for her to be dealing with right now.

__________________________________________ 

5/13

6:57 P.M.

Things are getting rather intense around here.

My mother and father are fighting about something. I don’t think its any one thing. I believe it’s a problem on several levels. I know that when he left my room he was a little stunned by what I told him about boys and sex the other night.

I heard him tell her in the past that he thought that I knew too much about sex for my own good. When he said that, she just flat out told him that I couldn’t possibly know too much when it came to my own self-preservation. Then she put a period behind it. There was obviously going to be no further debate or discussion on the subject. I wasn’t even in the room and I cringed. I tiptoed on past and went in my room.

When it comes to me, it is crystal clear that she is in charge. He’s the master of his house, but she alone is my mother. He might be my Daddy, but J.J. is riding in the car with her. There is no other way to look at it. She was so much as telling him to just deal with it. He didn’t say anything else to her about it that time. She can be lethal with the words at times. I think I started that “J.J knows too much” disagreement up again between them the other night after he left me. I didn’t mean to cause trouble; I was just making my point. I am not a child; I won’t be treated like one. He shouldn’t have taken it to her, if he did. He got told off once before about it. Once ought to be enough. It usually is for me.

He’s been edgy since the party and since Wesley asked me out. I think I must be growing up too fast for him. He really has problems with boys being around me. He doesn’t realize that it takes two to Tango, and I’m not even interested in dancing yet. I’m still a wallflower. I might window shop occasionally, but that’s the extent of it. My mother is more comfortable about that kind of thing than he is. I think she trusts my judgment more. Even though he’s pretty open-minded, I don’t think he can help being a Daddy with me since I’m a girl, and consequently being overly protective.

There’s still a problem with her article. Marcia has now put it on indefinite hold because of some threatening phone calls that her office received naming my mother as the target. The publication shut it down. I know they’re afraid of being be sued by Daddy if something happens to her, even though it’s her choice to pursue the research and I don’t think he’d do something like that. It’s frustrating to my mother when that happens to her work while she’s on a roll. She says that if she isn’t afraid, nobody else should be. I don’t know about that all the time, I don’t want anything to happen to her either. Her writing is the one thing that she can be a little reckless about. I know that she’s put herself in harm’s way a couple of other times and it was scary. I do, however, respect her tenacity.

While I was fixing some cereal this morning I heard her telling Daddy about the article and about what Marcia said to her about the calls and getting hurt. He fooled around and agreed with Marcia and didn’t support her when she said that she wanted to push on anyway and publish it herself. He really was only worried about her, just like me, but she must not have heard that in what he said at the time. She stopped talking to him altogether after that. It got real uncomfortable, so I went outside on the patio instead of sitting at the breakfast table with them. I noticed that even Marie went downstairs to the laundry.

He took me to school and didn’t say anything to me all the way there. He and I usually use that time to talk. When they don’t get along, it has a trickle down effect.

I think my mother is bothered about Marnie and me too. She’s still watching me and checking on me at night. She knows that something is wrong, but she won’t ask me. She’ll wait until I tell her, but I can’t say anything until all this other stuff is off her. If she and Daddy are fighting, that’s a load in and of itself. It’s rare that it comes to this with them, but when it does, it throws everything out of balance in all of our lives.

This is all getting to be too much. Too many things are falling apart. If things don’t work out at school tomorrow, I’m going in for counseling with my mother tomorrow night. I don’t care what the hell else is going on.

Good Night

__________________________________________

5/14

6:45 P.M.

This is absolutely it! Something is definitely wrong and I’m jumping in with both feet. I went into school this morning, saw Marnie, and asked her to come to my house after school to work on her history project. She said that she couldn’t come because she’d promised K.B. that she would ride with him on his new Harley.

Off the subject, that bike is sooooo nice!! I’m going to give him another couple of months or so with it to himself, and then I’m going to make him teach me to ride it. My mother banned me from riding on the back of it with him before I could even get my first ride, but she didn’t say a thing about me driving it myself! Loophole!!

After school, when I was getting ready for track practice, K.B. came to my locker asking me to ride home with him. He said that he’d wait until after practice and take me home. He knows full well that I can’t. He just came around to look at me in my running pants, with his nasty self. He had the nerve to tell me that I had a nice butt. What was he doing looking at it?

I asked him what happened with Marnie riding home with him. He said that she cancelled and was staying after for some after school activity. Then he said that he saw Marnie with Craig going into the math room. So he thought she was getting tutored. Yeah, right.

Now I know for a fact that Marnie would not be caught dead in school after hours for math, of all subjects. I was fairly certain that she hadn’t been assigned to detention. Her name wasn’t on the list posted outside of the office. Mine wasn’t either. I still can’t get used to not seeing my name up there even though it’s been a year since my last detention. Either I’ve grown up some, or I’m getting better at getting away with the stuff that I do. Probably the latter is closer to the truth.

When track practice was over, I went around to the math room. I saw her sneak out of the room followed by that perverted snake, Craig. They weren’t studying anything like math. You need books and supplies for that. No way would the door have been closed and locked if they had been on the up and up. They were in there up to no good. I thought back to what Charmaine told me about seeing Marnie in the car with him. Now I believe that there might be something to that. I should have picked the lock. It was one of those child’s play locks. It wouldn’t have taken but a minute.

When Marnie came out of that room, she was alone and she was all flushed in the face. I hid so she couldn’t see me. I forgot about Craig, just that quick and got caught by him when I came out. I acted like I was just getting a Coke out of the machine in the hall. When he saw me standing there, he tried to act all nonchalant, like there wasn’t anything going on. Then that low-life tried to talk to me! He had just been closed up doing God only knows what with my best friend!

Somebody tell me, how much sex do guys need, I’d like to know! It’s as if they have to nail everybody that they suspect can be nailed. I’m so sick and tired of this guy/girl stuff. Sometimes I wish I could just go back to being eight when the only guys that mattered or were interested in me were Daddy and Pa. I wanted so much to ask my mother about it in the car when I got in, but I just couldn’t get the words together. I was so upset about everything.

Life gets so confusing and maddening. Sometimes I don’t know what I should do or be. I want to be just a regular girl, but I’ll never be regular on any level. I want to be accepted for the person that I actually am, but who am I really? I’m never really sure what people see when they see me. My friends call me “J.J. the Magnificent” because they say I have everything all together and I’m usually looking like I’m having a good time. I have my insecurities too. I just don’t talk about them too much to anybody. Nobody really wants to hear your bad news.

I’m sure that whatever is up with Marnie is probably ten times worse than anything I’m going through right now. Basically my life is pretty secure. But problems are all relative to the person, aren’t they?

I surely hope that Marnie hasn’t gotten herself depressed and let her guard down. When that happens, it’s easy for bad stuff to creep up and in on you.

I went to find my mother to talk with her later on, but she was on the phone talking, I could tell, with my father. It sounded as if they had settled their differences. I’m glad. I hate it when they argue. It’s unnatural for them. They never really stay mad with each other for a long time.

I’ll go do my homework and wait until later.

__________________________________________

5/14

11:37 P.M.

I must’ve been really tired. Evidently, I fell asleep doing my homework. I remember my mother coming up and asking me if I was hungry, and I said that I wasn’t. The next thing I knew I was waking up because I could hear Third whimpering outside my door. I got up and let him into the room. He won’t sleep anywhere else but in here at night, just like his father, Junior, did when I was little. I didn’t get to see Daddy tonight. I must’ve been asleep when he got home. When I let Third in, the hall was dark and their doors were closed like they’d already gone to bed.

You know when I woke up to let the dog in, it occurred to me that someone had pulled the comforter up over me and moved my books from the bed to the night table. I know that I didn’t do it, and Daddy doesn’t come in here if the door is closed, and I don’t answer when he knocks. Marie rarely comes up here so I have to assume that my mother must’ve some in earlier, found me sleeping, and did that for me.

You know, little things like somebody putting the covers on you when you’re sleeping let you know that you’re loved.

__________________________________________

5/15

1:27 A.M.

My mother just left me to go back to bed. She came in to check on me, and I called her in before she could leave this time. I asked her to lay down with me and let me talk while she listened. She closed her eyes while I told her everything that was going on. I know she did that so that I couldn’t read her. At times when I’m telling her things, I find myself watching her eyes and adjusting what I’m going to say based on the reaction that I get from them. She must be aware that I do that. She’s very perceptive, especially about me.

But while she lay there on her back with her eyes closed, I could check her out real well while I was talking to her without her knowing what I was doing. It’s really easy to see why my father loves her so much. She’s so pretty. Even when she’s sleeping, or pretending to be, she’s really very pretty. She has a wonderful face, smooth skin, and beautiful hair. She’s also an excellent listener. She takes in all that you say and she filters out the unimportant stuff. (I guess that explains why she’s such an effective writer.) When we’re talking, she makes me focus on the point when I want to go off in three or four different directions, which is what I was trying to do while she was here talking with me this morning. I had so much that I wanted to say, and that I wanted to ask her that my mind was racing and it all just came flooding out at one time.

We talked about Marnie. I told her everything that had been going on and how I felt about it. I realized as I was talking, that I was actually hurting about all of this: Marnie, boys, Daddy, everything. She made me stick to the stuff about Marnie and told me that I should talk with Marnie before I came to any conclusions. She said that it might be necessary to go to her and make her talk to me. I can do that.

One day real soon, when all of this is done, I want to talk with her again about the other things. I’m most concerned about my father. I know that he loves me, but he can’t hold me a prisoner because of how I look. I can’t help that, but I am in control of what I do when he can’t see me. He is going to have to trust in the things that he and my mother have taught me.

I have to get some sleep. I have a math test and a serious conversation to hold tomorrow.

Good Morning

__________________________________________

5/15

9:45 P.M.

Well it’s done and it was pretty grim.

Marnie’s stepfather was sexually abusing her. He hadn’t touched her or anything physical like that-yet. He was spying on her when she was naked in her bathroom. That was bad enough, but I think it bothered her more that her mother wouldn’t listen to her when she tried to tell her what he was doing. I cannot begin to imagine how that must have felt. She couldn’t tell her real father because she didn’t trust him enough any more to help her. She’s not as close to him as she used to be. Not having either of her parents’ support at a time like that had to be devastating to her.

She said that she didn’t tell me because she didn’t want to mess up my life with her junk. I think that she was just ashamed of talking about something that dirty even though it wasn’t her fault. I wish she would have just told me, but I’m not walking in her shoes. I don’t know if I would have wanted to tell anyone about that either.

Marnie’s been through a lot in her life. Her parents divorced when she was little and both of them remarried too many times. She has some stepsisters and brothers, and she also has some little half brothers, but she doesn’t interact with them. I think she’s more alone with them than I am with no siblings of any kind.

She cried when she was telling me everything. I wanted to cry too, but I really don’t like to let go like that. I rarely do that any more. When I cry, I have absolutely, positively had it, and I am either heartbroken or at my wits end. Those types of episodes don’t happen too often.

It was a rough day for her from the beginning. Marnie overslept and she missed her ride and the school bus, so she decided to try and hitchhike. My father had dropped me off at school and was on his way to his office when he found her trying to hitch on Mulholland Drive. He scooped her up and brought her to school. The word is that he pulled his car up onto the walkway of the school and brought her into the building by her arm and took her to class like she was his.

I had been waiting for her in the first floor restroom until the first period bell. I started to skip class to give her time to get there to me, but at the last minute I decided to go. Good thing, too, because right after class, K.B. came running to tell me about Marnie and my father.

Daddy caught him talking to me. It was hall passing time and everyone was out there to witness my father go completely ballistic. It seems that K.B. skipped class too because he was late getting to school.

Daddy wanted to know “what the hell kind of operation” the school was running with kids all over the place and doing whatever they wanted. Then he turns to me and asks where I was during first period. I was so glad that I didn’t have to lie, although this morning I might have gone with the lie, given his frame of mind at the time. I quickly showed him my book and the notes I took in class. Then he tells me that I needed to cut to the chase and get with Marnie. He said for me to find out what the problem was because he was tired of my mother walking the floor at night worrying about the two of us.

Then he yelled at K.B., “and get your ass to class!” In front of God and everybody! If I hadn’t been so scared, I would have died laughing. KB almost peed on himself!

My friend, Charmaine, who has the serious hots for my father, stood there the whole time, witnessing his entire performance in the hall. The whole time she was drooling and foaming at the mouth. She does that every time she sees him. Charmaine is in the journalism program. One day she was doing some research for a business piece she was working on and she found an article about him in a technology magazine in the library. Did she not cut his pictures out of the school’s magazine and hang them up in her locker?? I’m serious. Her locker is right next to mine, and one day she opens the door, and there is my father hanging up as a pinup in her locker! I could not believe it! Other people have rock stars, actors, family photos; she has Jonathan Hart. To this day, he’s still in there. She’s added to her collection since then, including a picture she stole from me. Some people have no shame. I told her that my mother would kick her butt her if she found out. Charmaine says that she doesn’t even care. She just likes to look at him. I think it’s sick, but I do have to credit her for having good taste.

I skipped my last two classes of the day to spend time talking with Marnie. I found her in the lunchroom. She wanted to act defensive at first, but I broke her right down. I have my father’s stare and we are good at that. We went out on the back lawn to talk. We stayed out there until the end of the day. K.B. promised to cover for me and get the homework. He’s in my last two classes.

Talking like that with Marnie was like it’s always been with us. We’ve always shared our secrets. Today she shared her shameful secret with me, so I let go of one that I’ve been holding onto for years. It felt like the right thing to do at that time, and it was getting heavy holding it in. I told her about sneaking and reading one of my mother’s journals. I read it when I was eleven, going on twelve.

I’ve always been nosy about the things that my mother does. She’s led such an interesting life. I know that she’s my mother, but the person outside of being my mother fascinates me. She knows so many things, she’s been to so many places, and I want to know all about her. She writes all the time and I’ve always been allowed read her pieces, but those journals intrigued me. It’s not like she hides them or anything. She just trusts us to respect her privacy. They’re stored on a shelf in the upstairs library. That night the temptation did me in. Marie was in her room downstairs, and she thought that I was in bed. I tiptoed over to the library, and I just picked one real quick and took it to my room.

When I started reading it, I realized that it was the one in which she wrote about being pregnant with me. As I read, I started crying. It was heartbreaking to me.

She didn’t want me.

I couldn’t stop reading her words and crying. I couldn’t believe that my mother, who I loved so much, really did not want me. I didn’t know what to feel until I finished reading the whole thing. (I’ve always read fast and she was gone, so I had plenty of time.) It wasn’t until the end of that journal that I was able to stop crying and feel better about things.

Not until after I was actually born did she realize that she really did want me:

“5/2/1986

It wasn’t in my plan to have this baby, but it is obviously in the Master’s plan for my life. Just as losing my mother when I was so young must have been in my blueprints, so also is this child. Today, a tiny newborn girl looked at me for the first time with Jonathan’s blue eyes. The floodgates of mother-daughter love that I’ve held so tightly closed for so long opened wide and washed over what I suddenly realized was my own precious and beautiful baby girl. At that moment, I took her to my breast and into my heart.”

I took the liberty of copying that passage out of her journal, and I keep the piece of paper that I wrote it on with me in my wallet. I pull it out and read it sometimes when I’m feeling a little lost or blue. I had to realize that it wasn’t me in particular that she didn’t want, it was just any child. I’m not just any child, I’m Justine Jennifer Hart and what she wrote reminds me that no matter how stupid things get in life, there is one person in the world who really, really loves me.

K.B got my homework for me and slipped it to me via my mother through the car window. K.B. is my boy and he’s usually slicker than that. I don’t know what got into him today to pass that by my mother. I could have killed him. Now I think she knows that I skipped class, but she didn’t ask so I didn’t tell. I think that’s how it’s done in the military. It works for me with my mother. She did give me a funny look before she handed me the folded up piece of paper he handed her.

Marnie rode home with us and stayed at our house until it got dark. We worked on getting her assignments caught up as well as on putting our friendship back together. I hope that she and her mother can put it back together since her stepfather is no longer in the picture. Her mother is kind of flighty compared to my mother, but she’s  younger and  less experienced. But basically she’s really nice. Maybe she learned something too out of this.

I don’t know what we’re going to do when it’s time for college. I’m planning to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Marnie wants to go into public relations, and she says that she’ll probably stay here in California because it’s the entertainment capital. Whatever happens, I hope that we’ll be friends for the rest of our lives.

Good Night

__________________________________________

5/16

12:05 A.M.

My mother took me out for a drive this evening. She just came into my room and said for me to put my homework down. She said that Daddy was working late and that we were leaving. It was so sudden that I just stopped, put on my shoes and went with her down to the car without questioning anything.

She had a picnic basket and a blanket in the back already. She didn’t say anything about them, so neither did I. She drove us out to a small park not too far from where we live. It’s the same park where Daddy and I used to shoot off the stomp rockets, and where I introduced Daddy to K.B.

When we got there, we put the blanket down and we ate what she brought.

Let me just stop and say this right here.

My mother did not fix the food. Marie must have fixed it. I know this, because my mother cannot cook. She can do a lot of things, but cooking is not one of them. Daddy told me that he didn’t marry her to be his cook. That much is evident; he would have starved to death if he didn’t know how to cook himself. It never comes out right when she cooks. She doesn’t even try any more like she used to do.

My godmother, my mother’s friend Patricia, went to Prep School with my mother. She told me that when they had Home Economics together, she would do most of my mother’s class work in exchange for my mother helping her with her research papers. She said that way back then my mother knew that she was not going to lead the type of life that would require her to know how to cook. Aunt Pat says that my mother has always had someone else to cook for her, and that’s why she can’t cook. I say it’s just not in her to do that-not at all. Some people don’t have it in them to do certain things. Cooking is not her strong suit. I don’t think she’s that motivated either.

I go into the kitchen a lot now and ask Marie to show me how to do things. Sometimes I just go in and watch what she does. I am not going to be handicapped in that area. I like to eat too much to not be able to cook. My mother eats a lot of salads and stuff, and she can make that kind of thing, but cooking that involves the use of a stove…..

Daddy does the cooking when Marie is off or on vacation. Lately, I even cook sometimes. She says that I do a good job, but that I cook too heavy. She eats like a bird. I eat like Daddy and Pa.

Everybody has a chink in his or her armor. Cooking is my mother’s chink, albeit a deep, deep chink! I’m through with that now. I’m moving on.

After we ate, she asked me if I wanted to explore the other things that I brought up the other night. I told her that since I got the stuff with Marnie straightened out the other things didn’t seem so heavy any more. But after a minute or so I said that I did want to ask her about Daddy.

I asked her if Pa treated her like an airhead when it came to boys like Daddy does to me. When she answered me, she said something very profound; something that I hadn’t thought about and that put things into perspective for me: she wasn’t with her father when she was my age. That was when she was away at school for most of the year. That meant that she had to go it on her own. All the things that I have my parents for: a kiss, a smile, to be there in the morning and in the evenings, periods, cramps, the times I just want to show them something that I did well, or the times when I just need a hug or someone to talk to; she was alone. So was my Daddy- all the time. She said that she knows that he’s overly protective, but it’s because I’m young yet. He doesn’t want me hurt. She said that I attract attention and it might not always be the right kind of attention. As I get older and he’s more comfortable with the idea that I can handle myself, he probably won’t be so bad about it.

In light of what she had to do at my age by herself, I think I can put up with Daddy and his ways for as long as it takes for him to get over it; just as long as he doesn’t take too long to get over it.

She told me that she liked the way that I try to work things out by myself before I start screaming for help; that doing things that way makes you stronger and builds your belief in yourself.

She says to me:

“J.J. always know that I’m here and don’t wait forever before you seek me out. Many times I know that something is wrong and I wait for you to work it out, but if you see that you can’t fix it by yourself, please let me help. Promise me?”

I promised her I would do that. I’m no fool. Cut out the middleman and go to the source, and the source for me is my mother.

Our relationship is special because it’s solid. I know that. I also know that comes from us respecting each other as people first and then as mother and daughter. She scares me sometimes, but that’s usually when I need to be scared and need somebody to put me in check. She’s the one for that, too.

I lay my head in her lap like I  like to do when I have a problem and we didn’t talk for a long time after that. It felt good when she stroked my hair like she used to do when I was a little girl.

Yeah, I know that I’m spoiled in my own way and that I get more attention than most kids, but what the hell, I’m the Harts only child.

Good Night

__________________________________________

5/17

10:15 P.M.

There’s nothing much to say.

Mrs. Tolbert, Marnie’s mother, dropped Marnie and me off at the mall. She mother was supposed to stay with us, but we get on her nerves too much and she cuts us loose. I love the mall. This is the only way that I get to go. Marnie’s mother doesn’t have the good psychological control over us that my mother has. We would never do the stuff with my mother that we pull on her. First of all, my mother wouldn’t just drop us off at the mall by ourselves. Secondly, my mother isn’t stepping foot in a mall to walk around. If she has to go, she goes to Saks or whatever and gets right out of there. She hates it at the mall. She likes specialty shops.

Marnie’s mother couldn’t wait to get us out of her car. We had the music up loud and we were bouncing to the beat. She pulled up to the curb and said that she’d be back in a couple of hours and to meet her on the Food Court. Do you think Jennifer Hart would tell us to meet her on the Food Court? Please! I don’t think she’s ever even seen a Food Court.

We met up with some of our other friends once we got inside. K.B. works at the Footlocker. We went in there and messed around with him for a minute, but his boss was giving him the fisheye so I bought a pair of running shoes that Daddy gave me the money to get and then we left.

We went into this costume jewelry store and Marnie got another hole pierced in one of her ears, this time at the top. That’s the third hole in that ear. She wanted me to do it too, but Daddy had a fit when I had the second holes done in mine. He doesn’t usually put his foot down on much, but he did say “No more holes- anywhere”. And he meant it.

I expected that it was going to be my mother who went off on me about getting my ears pierced that second time, but about two days later, she had hers done too. I keep telling you I never know where she’s going to come from. I’m still always just a little edgy with her. We both got another pair of diamond earrings from Daddy for those second holes to match the first ones. He says he does that because his women only wear diamonds in their ears. I wonder if he told my mother no more holes anywhere?

He didn’t say anything to me about not getting a tattoo, though. Maybe I’ll get a tiny heart in some really sexy secret place where only a future lover would see it. I’m willing to bet that my mother has one somewhere. I think she does stuff like that. It sounds like something freaky she’d do for Daddy. (I’m beginning to wonder about the two of them. She’s got some awfully pretty loungewear. ) Then she’ll try to present herself to me like she’s a perfect lady, and I’m the house tramp because I might ask for a tattoo, a belly chain, a toe ring, or because I called somebody a ‘sucker’ for making a stupid sports bet.

I’ve got this project that Marnie and I are planning as a fundraiser at school. I’ve got to get a crew together to help me. If my mother ever finds out about this one, I’ll really be in the deep and murky. This caper will really have to be kept on the down low, but I think I can pull it off with the right people.

Did I ever mention about the time that I saw my mother drinking straight whiskey and smoking a cigar at one of Daddy’s late night poker games? Yes, a cigar! I crept over from my room and was watching from the second floor library balcony when I was supposed to be in the bed and asleep.

But I’m the only one in the family who’s incorrigible, right?

She did take all of the guys’ money that night along with Mr. Sheldon’s Rolex, though. She got all my respect for that-AND for the whiskey and the cigar. They moaned and cried like they always do when the Hart women play. I wonder if she split the harvest with Daddy later. I’m sure that he got paid off.

I better hope that she never reads this, right?

No need to worry about me getting that tattoo any time soon. I’m scared of the needle… for right now.

Good Morning

 Continue to next story

One Response to J.J.’s Journal: Part Two

  1. ginj07 says:

    Love your writing. I have been criticized in fanfiction for writing a different twist on Jennifer and Jonathan. Some people only want them to be idealistic. Instead of real madly in love people that have sex and disagreements. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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