Tonight I’m taking a little extra time to write before I go to bed.
In two days I’ll be sixteen, which means I’ll be starting a new book as well as a new chapter in my life. My mother has already given me the new journal. She had a gold nameplate put on it engraved with my name along with my birth date. She also had the words “Year Sixteen” put onto the spine of this one.
These are the last nights that I will be fifteen, and the past year has been a real adventure, realistically, literally, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. There were moments that I didn’t think the end of fifteen would ever come. I thought I would be stuck being this age forever. It seems like everything that could happen, happened while I was fifteen. To say the least this year has been a whopper.
I want to spend some time tonight reflecting on the highlights.
Marnie’s mother got divorced again this year. This makes the third time for her. It was finalized a couple of weeks ago, but Bernard got put out a while back after her mother found out that he was being a voyeur with Marnie. That happened last spring. The situation freaked Marnie out and caused a lot of tension and friction between her and her mother, but they have been trying to work it out the best they can for them.
At least now I’m allowed to visit Marnie at home again and sleep over on occasion like we used to when we were little. While Bernard, the ex-husband, was living there my mother would not let me go down there for anything. Even now, I don’t get to sleep over down there as often as Marnie stays here. My mother says Marnie’s mother still isn’t all that responsible with her love life. She dates a lot and has her male friends over often, and according to Jennifer Hart, that’s not a good influence on impressionable teenaged girls. So, most of the time, Marnie hangs out down here.
We had picture day at school last spring too, and what started out as just having fun, ended up with my mother getting hurt. I have a hard time dealing with that whole thing still, but sometimes you have to face things head on, even when it hurts you to your core to confront them. She’s tried to tell me more than once what happened to her wasn’t my fault, but I keep thinking if I hadn’t taken those pictures, trying to be so funny and everything, that man would never have known where she was in the world, and she wouldn’t have gotten hurt by him.
The man, Andy Seagren, was supposed to be her old friend, but he wanted more from her than to revive their friendship, even though she’s married now. I didn’t and still don’t understand all of it, like why he thought he could get away with trying to get her to cheat on Daddy or him trying to take her away from us like that. But I do know with absolute certainty that I’m still mad as hell about it. He needs to watch out for me and hope he’s gone on to the next life before I’m grown.
I mean that with all my heart.
The only good things that came out of that situation were I learned I do believe in God. I’m not going all religious or anything, but I’m firmly convinced there is somebody out there who looks out for us when we don’t do such a good job of watching out for ourselves and the people we love.
Secondly, I learned I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. During that time, I thought I was going to die from the pain. I have never gone through anything like what I felt when I put my mother through that. I was physically sick, and mentally I was a mess, but I made it. The place still hurts, like I said, but I’m getting better. My mother believes in guardian angels, and I think mine is my mother’s mother. She speaks to me in French, and she helped guide me through the hardest parts of all that.
Lastly, I found out how much my mother really does mean to me, and how precious she is to my life. At times I tend to take her being there for me for granted, but I wouldn’t be anything without her. I suspected as much before that happened. I know it for sure now.
Last summer I went to France for two weeks to visit my Great-Aunt Sabrina like always, and I had a great time. Her house is wide open and it was anything goes as usual. My friend Emil was visiting his aunt, my aunt’s friend and neighbor, like he does every summer at the same time I visit mine. He is becoming quite handsome, but also quite the hound. He really wants to get close to me, but I’m not ready for that.
I spent most of the first few days letting him down easy. I let him kiss me one time, but when he kept trying to slip me his tongue, I had to tell him it was not to be. There’s another girl, Esme’, who lives in the area. She likes him a lot and she’s a bit more willing than I am, so he spent more time with her after I wouldn’t cooperate. He kept bringing her around, flaunting her in front of me like I was supposed to get jealous or something. I just thought they both looked like vampire victims with those passion marks all over their necks like that.
I told Aunt Sabrina about the two of them and she said it was tacky to let someone leave their marks all over you where other people can see them; people just do that for show. She said it means more when the marks are left in places where only you and your lover can see them and be reminded of the passion you shared that caused them. She went on to say, rather forcefully I might add, that for right now I had better not be getting any marks anywhere for anybody to see or be having any passion whatsoever to recall. According to her that’s something to look forward to much farther down the road when I’m sure I’m really in love with someone and he with me- and I’m on the pill and he’s in a rubber.
My aunt does not mince her words, even in French.
She is the best. I wonder if she talked as frankly to my mother when she was a young girl as she does with me. If so, that explains my mother’s ability to talk so easily and be so comfortable with me about such matters.
My mother took Marnie and me with her to a writers’ conference in New York last summer too. The conference itself was boring, but she was the keynote speaker, and I love being with her when she does things like that. I’m so proud of her when she’s out front. She’s so smart, and she has so much poise and grace. I like that people know she’s my mother and when they notice how much I look like her. She likes to expose the two of us to those kinds of situations because she says they grow us intellectually. Neither of us could see or feel that part of it at the time. Marnie liked being there a lot more than I did, but then she was busy networking with Aunt Pat’s publisher friends. Aunt Pat is crazy about Marnie; they are a lot alike in disposition. Both of them have New York attitudes although Marnie was born in Texas, but has been raised in LA just like me.
We were in Manhattan for a week. Daddy flew in and took my mother off with him for two days. They stayed in a hotel together while he was there, and Marnie and I stayed with Aunt Pat. The two of us had a ball with Aunt Pat! I don’t like to shop that much, but Marnie does, and she did. Aunt Pat let us go off by ourselves for a while on both days. There’s everything to do in New York, and we did it all. I even bought some things myself.
When I’m in New York, my favorite place to stay is Aunt Pat’s apartment. It’s enormous and old with fine woodworking, wrought iron grates, and crown moldings. It even has a huge slate fireplace. Before she married my father, it used to be my mother’s apartment, so of course I like the vibes there. When she met and married my father all of a sudden like she did, Aunt Pat moved in and took it over. Later it went co-op and she bought it to “keep it in the family”. She says she’s leaving it to me in her will. Marnie and I talked about that. We think we can make it work for us for real. We both love New York and some real slamming parties could be held there.
I also went to Maryland and saw my grandfather last summer. He’s hanging in there pretty well, but his heart condition still keeps him confined to Briarwood pretty much. Pa’s himself, all stiff and stern and everything, but I love him anyway. He still gets on me about wearing pants so much and keeping my hair up, and I still indulge him at dinnertime by wearing a dress and letting my hair down. Now even the braid that I used to be able to get away with is unacceptable to him. He wants it loose, so that’s what I have to do. Pa and Tommy; they both have that hair thing going. Tommy is the only other someone who can get me to do that. He likes it down when he’s sketching me. He says I have good hair for drawing, and he’s done lots of sketches of me. I hate wearing my hair down, but neither he nor Pa seem to care what I think about it.
I went to London with my parents for a week. Daddy had business there, so my mother and I shopped and visited with friends while he worked and attended his meetings. A friend of my parents has a huge old, drafty manor house, but Sir Roddy has the most beautiful stable of horses. My mother and I rode the entire two days we spent with him.
We also spent a week at the cabin and two weeks at the ranch. A visit to the cabin gets old for me very quickly, but I love the ranch with the horses and all. There’s also access to all of the necessary technology at the ranch, unlike at the cabin. After about three days there, I’m stir crazy and need to get back to civilization with some E and voice mail. I have to be able to plug in the laptop, my Palm, something and get online for Instant Messaging. I have to be able to get a good signal on the cell so I can check my phone messages. My mother says I’m spoiled. Daddy tells her my last name is Hart.
When we arrived at the ranch, we found we had several new colts. Roxy is still the foreman even though she’s getting up there in age. All the young guys under her know better than to try her, and she keeps everything shipshape. She keeps Daddy in line, too. Roxy isn’t scared of him, and he acts like he doesn’t like being bossed by her, but he really loves it. He admires strong women, self-assured women- like Roxy and my mother.
When we got back home from the ranch, it was time for school to start back and for the first time ever, all my closest friends and I were able to get assigned to this one class, Art History, together during the same period. Somebody in scheduling dropped the ball on that one and that roster slipped through without being edited. Everybody is in the class, and it is so much fun. Any class with Sidney AND Marnie in it is bound to be a riot. Even the teacher, Mr. Harris, came to eventually like us, I think. We really enjoy having him for our teacher. He makes it fun, and he tries to keep everybody involved at their interest level. A lot of times I think we do more teaching of the class than he does. We’re always doing presentations and showing what we’ve learned to each other. I’ve learned a lot.
Then this past fall a girl at my school, Milini Scott, got pregnant. When she found out, she didn’t know what to do because she had been sleeping around with a lot of guys (including Tommy), and going around trying to be grown, treating sex like a recreational activity.
She had been doing that for a long time, probably since junior high, but it all fell apart for her one day when we were all released from school early, and she went off with a guy she had just met. She didn’t even know him well enough to know his last name (or his real first name for that matter), and she ended up getting raped. She didn’t tell anybody about it who could help her. Just a few of her friends knew and they held on to that secret real tight. Nobody knew what happened to her outside of their little group, and even they didn’t know the whole story. Only three of us, to my knowledge, know what really happened.
A couple of months or so later, she realized she was pregnant and of course, she wasn’t sure whose baby it was. She really couldn’t tell her parents about being violated because she didn’t want the rest of her private life to come out to them. She was ashamed.
It quickly turned into a real mess.
I found out about her being pregnant and her being raped from my friend, Philly, who was one of the girls who originally knew about it. She only told me because of Tommy.
Milini had enlisted Tommy to try to help her save face by naming him as the father at first. She told him all about the rape, and wanted her to help him because he’s nice and he has a solid reputation. He’d had sex with her and there was no shame in admitting to it for him, seeing as how he’s a boy, so he went along with it to help her not look so bad to everybody. He figured if he wasn’t the father, it would come out in time. And if it turned out that he was, he would have to do the right thing by her anyway. What he didn’t tell me was he was trying to keep people from knowing just how bad it turned out it actually was for her.
Well, my father, who loves Tommy like a son, got wind of it and he wasn’t about to let Tommy mess up his good name without just cause, so he got involved. Of course, once Tommy got mixed up in it, I ended up in the mix too. A couple of things I did to try to help Tommy get through it all got my mother coming after me. At one point, she suspected I was the one having sex, but I set her straight real quick about that. I would slap a boy silly for coming at me like that.
Then my mother and father wound up getting into it with each other over their differing viewpoints on the whole situation.
Like I said, it was a real mess.
After all the initial drama, Mil ended up losing the baby, which turned out not to be Tommy’s after all. Her father found out about her sleeping around anyway. I was with her in the restroom of the girls’ locker room when she lost the baby. The whole thing was so terrifying, but once again I learned a lot from all of it.
I learned about people’s attitudes toward girls, boys, and sex, and the vast differences between male and female points of view on the subject. I also learned a lot about my own biases, and that my own attitude needed adjusting. I found out first hand that life isn’t fair. I’ve heard that said before, but now I know for sure that it’s such a very true statement.
I never understood why Milini felt like she had to do what she was doing with all those different boys. What was she looking for? Mil had good looks, she made good grades, she was a cheerleader, and she was popular. What would cause someone to allow themselves to be used in that manner? Low self-esteem was my first thought. Maybe she wanted to do what boys do. Or maybe she thought she was using them. Whatever her reasons, she ended up coming up short.
Mil never came back to school after that day in the locker room. Her folks sent her away to some private boarding school. I would hate to be banished from home like that after having had such a traumatic thing happen to me. She was only sixteen when it happened, and I think her parents were wrong to do that, even though it isn’t any of my business. I don’t believe my parents would have handled it that way. But then, that never would have been me. I know Jennifer Hart would have checked me right away, just like she did when she THOUGHT I was having sex. That same afternoon the thought entered her head, she was up in my room and in my face with it. And if I was pregnant, she’d know before it went too far. This is the woman who keeps track of my periods on her calendar. She would have been all over the situation before I could ever even begin to get all the way out there like Mil was.
All the boys at school with whom Mil had sex still go there every day with us like nothing happened. I think about that a lot too. One of them could have been the father of her baby. I wonder if that ever crosses their minds.
I think about Milini sometimes and wonder how she’s coping. I wonder if any of them think about her and how she’s getting along.
I wonder, too, if she ever told her mother that she had been raped. When I talked to her that day at her house after she got out of the hospital, she told me she hadn’t said anything to her mother about it because she didn’t know anything about the boy she went off with. Then poor Mil tried to tell me that it was more than one guy who did that to her, but I stopped her before she could go into any details. It think it’s called gang rape when it happens like that, and the concept makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.
I can’t believe a bunch of guys would do that to a woman or a girl against her will, but I guess they do. I wanted to ask my mother about it. She would tell me if I asked, but I just couldn’t get the words together. Every time I tried, I would just get sick at the thought and I would drop it before I could form the words. That was the real reason why Tommy agreed to help her. He thought it was terrible, and he wanted to help. She told him about it, and as far as I know, I was the only other person to whom she told the whole story. She told Tommy because she knew she could trust him. She really liked him, and that’s the reason they had sex. Mil thought that was the way to get him to like her back, but it wasn’t. According to my mother, girls have sex looking for love and boys have sex looking for sex. That’s why it’s best to wait and make sure you’re both in it for the same reasons.
It was hard for me to grasp the fact she really had no idea who the father of her baby was; one of the rapists or one of her voluntary partners. She didn’t even really know exactly when it was that she even got pregnant. Having a baby isn’t supposed to be like that. It was all so sad and so raggedy all at same time. I’ve never said this aloud to anyone, but I can’t help but think maybe it was better the baby didn’t live after all. My mother says God, not man, is in charge of all things. I believe that even more now behind all that happened. I think God knew what was best in that situation.
I understand now I have a lot to lose if I don’t use my head when it comes to boys and sex. I am the most important person to consider in the decision to get involved or not, to have sex or not, to love somebody or not. Ultimately I will be the one who has to deal with whatever fallout there might be in those situations, so the choice is mine to make, not anybody else’s. I think I’ll just take it slow and wait a while. I’m not comfortable with a lot of that stuff anyway right now.
Our guidance counselor started a support group at school with some of the girls it that happened. It’s called “Girls Helping Girls”. She wanted me to join the group real badly, I think, because of my being there with Milini through her ordeal, but I didn’t join. Ms. Grimsley thought I needed to talk it out and that I could bring something to the table. I don’t want to talk about it with girls. I’ll talk about it with my mother if I think I need to talk about it. She’s a woman, and she can tell me what I need to know from an experienced point of view. I don’t need to be feeling around in the dark with people more clueless than I am. So far, I’ve processed and dealt with it on my own. For me, knowing I can go to my mother if I need to helps me get through things. I don’t always take things to her, but knowing I can, that she’s there, helps a lot. I don’t need or want a support group for personal matters. When its personal, I want a person not a group to help me. I want to pick the person, and I know who to pick.
The most bizarre episode in my life so far has to be when Tommy and I got kidnapped earlier this year. Everyone thought at first it was me the kidnappers were after, but it was really Tommy they wanted. It turned out even though Tommy never knew his father, his father knew about him. He knew where he was and had been keeping track of him all of his life until he dropped dead of a massive heart attack in Florida.
Most of the details of Tommy’s parents’ relationship are kind of fuzzy to me. When I asked her, my mother told me it was none of my business, which is what she is inclined to say when things get little sordid. But what I do know is Tommy’s father was a married man with a twin sister who was a little off in the head.
It all turned out okay for us, though. We got split up and Daddy used a tracking system I had been developing in the Hart Industries lab to find us both. I ended up getting dropped off by the kidnappers in southern California, near the Arizona border, and Tommy got taken to Florida to his relatives’ estate.
It turns out that his father’s people are wealthy. The sister (his aunt) had Tommy kidnapped, and like always when there’s trouble, since I was there with him, I just got caught up in it.
Stuff happens like that to me all the time. My mother says it’s because I’m Jonathan Hart’s issue, and trouble and us go together hand-in-hand. Go figure.
Tommy’s aunt didn’t want to hurt him; she just wanted to have him there with her since her beloved brother had clocked out. It seems she was sort of obsessed with her twin brother in a kind of sick sort of way, and she was trying to transfer that obsession to Tommy.
I think Tommy was a little bent out of shape at first about his father not trying to get to know him, and his mother not telling him she knew all the time where his father was. It was kind of sad when he did find out, his father was already dead, and it was too late. He came to the conclusion on his own that he can’t miss someone he never knew and that he would make do with what he had, which wasn’t too shabby: his mother and my father.
The best things to come from that experience was neither of us got hurt, we were located pretty quickly, and Tommy found out he has a grandmother who loves him. Her name is Josephina, but she goes by ‘Fee”. She’s Spanish and beautifully so, which explains Tommy’s looks: his black hair and his coloring. He has dimples like his father used to have, and he has his father’s eyes. He’s big like his father’s people are, too. Ever since I’ve known Tommy, I wondered what his father must have looked like since his mother is small, fair, and blonde. He looks nothing like her. Turns out he looks like his grandmother and his late father and grandfather. I’m willing to lay odds that looking at him all this time must have been freaking his mother out, especially at the times Tommy pissed her off about something. Probably a whole lot around that time that he got in trouble with Mil.
I call his grandmother “Ms. Fee” and I like her a lot. I think she likes me too. Like my own grandfather, she refuses to call me J.J., so I’m “Justine” to her as well. Since they found each other, Ms Fee has moved here from Florida to be closer to Tommy and his mom. She would have been all alone in that big house in Florida, so she bought a huge, top floor condo downtown, not too far from Hart Industries. She brought her personable housekeeper, Consuela here also. They’re still in the process of moving her things into the condo.
The aunt got sent away for a while for observation and evaluation, and then I don’t know what is supposed to happen to her after that. Nobody will say.
Those are the major things that happened.
I also found out this year that I’m anemic and that’s why my periods give me so much trouble. It’s so weird because I’m never sick generally, but when my periods come, they throw my whole system out of whack. My mother told me going on the pill might alleviate some of my symptoms, and would regulate my body functions. She wasn’t advocating my taking them. She was merely giving me the option, but I turned her down. I’d just as soon deal with the symptoms. I’m not ready to be on the pill just yet- for any reason.
And for the record, it has been properly moved and seconded that my Great-Aunt Sabrina is a wanton exhibitionist. She had a nude painted of her when she was only sixteen. It was originally done in France, Tommy ran up on it here in an art gallery while our Art History class was on a field trip. That’s how things go with my family. Coincidence should be a part of the Hart family crest. I mean it can’t just be bad luck that these bizarre things happen. She was posed so everything showed. I’m totally familiar with how Bohemian my aunt is, but even I could not believe she did that.
The really bad part about it is Aunt Sabrina looked then a lot like I do now, and Tommy saw the painting first. I don’t know how long he had been looking at it and drooling over it before he called me up there, and I can’t help but wonder what boy-filth was going through his mind all that time.
My mother says I’m shameless too, just like Aunt Sabrina, and I admit I have my ways, (little use for a whole lot of clothing) but I doubt I could do that…right now. How many conniptions do you think Jennifer Hart would have if I decided to let Tommy or anybody draw me in the nude when I turn sixteen?
Now when I’m eighteen…
Forget about Jennifer Hart having conniptions. Jonathan Hart would be the problem there. If somebody did a nude of me and he saw it, he would be the one bursting a blood vessel or something. He’s still so very paranoid about boys being around me. I don’t know why; I don’t even date yet. I sincerely mean what I said about taking things slowly in that area of my life. I figure Daddy must have been a real wolf in his day. He’s having flashbacks and is scared of being paid back.
Not with Justine Jennifer Hart.
No way, baby. I rule this.
Whew! That was a lot of writing!
Just stopped in for a minute. I am so excited I almost cannot stand it! My party is tomorrow night and everything is set.
I don’t get birthday presents from my parents because every year they always give me a big, huge party. Besides, I get so much stuff from everybody else for my birthdays, and I get the world from them all year, especially from Daddy. This year I wanted to give my parents a present for my birthday. After all, they gave me my life, and it’s a good one, so I wanted to do something for them to celebrate their surviving being my parents for sixteen years.
I really couldn’t think of anything material that would be meaningful, so I decided to just give them each other. They don’t get very much traveling time to themselves like it seems they had so much of before I was born, but I’m getting older now, and it’s time for them to start to get back to that.
I’m going to send them on a three-day cruise all by themselves. Aunt Pat helped me with the arrangements, and I’ve been messing with Daddy’s head all week by setting up a phony business deal at Hart. With him all distracted, my mother is distracted right with him, so I can operate freely. I have everybody around Daddy’s office at Hart in on it, and they’ve been keeping him there late, calling him up with fake business stuff, and everything. He has been so stressed and on edge about it, I just hope he doesn’t lose it before he finds out it was me all the time.
Then I just hope they don’t both want to take me out permanently after that.
Uncle Bill is flying in this afternoon, and Aunt Pat will get in tomorrow morning. They’re coming to my birthday party this year because I’m turning sixteen. Uncle Bill arranged for his friend to let us use his yacht and crew for my parents’ cruise. I called all their favorite restaurants to supply the galley. Aunt Pat shopped for things they’ll need, and she’ll finish packing for them once we get them out of the way tomorrow morning and afternoon with the diversions we have planned for them.
This has been so much fun. I hope they’re really surprised when it goes down. I want them to have a good time like I know I’m going to have tomorrow night. All that’s left for me to do is the video, and we’ll film that in the morning after we pick up Aunt Pat. I can hardly wait! The technicians are all set to put it together for me and they will have it ready in the conference room when we sucker Daddy into getting there tomorrow night.
Well, I had better go now. My mother is taking me to school this morning and she hates to be kept waiting.
Be back later, J.
I am so hungry, but it’s my fault that we can’t eat yet. My mother has Marie holding dinner because Daddy got held up at the office. He’s held up because I had him held up as part of my master plan. He’s getting a call tonight too. He is going to be so wound up! She’ll go around the bend with him because that’s her man and she sticks with him all the way.
Uncle Bill is here. He’s staying in the guesthouse, though. He always does when he comes here. He says he doesn’t sleep a lot, watches sports on TV constantly, and lives on the phone, so he feels he’ll be less disruptive out there. I know it’s really because he drinks beer like water, smokes cigarettes on the sly, and eats mostly crap. He knows my mother isn’t going to let him live like that around her, and he’s not hearing her fussing for his entire visit, so that’s why he stays out there. Daddy goes out there with him and stays for long periods of time.
What do you think he gets into while he’s out there with his best friend? Or should I say gets into him?
Back later, J.
I just got off the phone with my friend Ollie. He’s spending the weekend with Wesley, Beau, Juan Carlos, and his cousin, Ramon in Wesley’s parents’ guest house. They’re all in town for my party tomorrow night. Juan flew all the way from Argentina. His visit is two-fold; he’s visiting his family and doing the party.
Ollie was calling me on his cell from inside the bathroom of the guesthouse. He didn’t want Wesley to know he was giving me a heads up. He thinks Wesley is too attracted to me, and he thinks he’s going to be trying to put pressure on me tomorrow night to be his girl.
Wesley’s been emailing me like crazy all year, ever since the Mission Street Ball last spring. I haven’t really said anything to anybody about it, except Marnie. He’s always nice when he writes me, asking after my well-being, and school and things; but he does it three and four times a day. Sometimes more. A lot of times I don’t even read them. I just delete them from my mailbox. I like Wesley, but he wants more than I can give him right now. He’s older than me, and he’s had more time to feel his way in this world. I need more time to feel for mine. I do not want a boyfriend. There’s too much involved in that, and I don’t want to deal with any of it right now.
Ollie was sweet to call me like that. It was so funny. He had the shower running so he couldn’t be overheard like somebody would do on television. What he wanted to tell me was I shouldn’t let Wesley talk me into anything I wasn’t comfortable doing. He always has been like that with me; looking out for me and all. He and Wesley are the same age, and we three have known each other all of our lives. Our mothers went to school together, and Ollie’s father went to the boys’ prep school down the road from them.
When we were younger, and the older kids I preferred to play with would be mean to me, including Wesley, Ollie would always stick by me and try to make me feel better about being rejected by them. He took up for me all the time, and I haven’t forgotten that ever.
Ollie is quiet and I used to think he was dull, but lately I’m thinking it’s just that we are two very different types of people. He’s very introspective. I’ll be thinking in his dullness, he didn’t see something that happened because he didn’t say anything about it at the time. Then way down the line, he’ll mention it in a conversation we might be having, and I’ll realize he saw it all the time. In contrast, I’m impulsive and tend to act on things right away. He says I move too fast for him except when we dance together. He is some dancer.
I won’t be moving fast with Wesley or anybody else. Count on it.
My mother is calling me.
I’ll be back.
I am never going to get to sleep. I’m too wound up and my mind won’t turn off. There are so many things running through my head.
I’m going to be sixteen when I wake up. (If I ever go to sleep.) That is such a cool age. I won’t be a baby any more. I can get my driver’s license, even though I don’t know what I’ll do with it when I get it. I won’t have a car. Jennifer Hart says I can’t have my own car until I’m seventeen. Everybody here in Los Angeles who’s sixteen gets a car, except J.J. My mother says sixteen is too young an age for her daughter to be driving on the road in LA.
It’s not like I don’t already know how to drive. I’ve been doing it since I was twelve. At the ranch, Daddy takes me way out in the Range Rover, and he lets me drive. On the way back to the house, I drive us back until we get so far, and then we stop so he can take back the wheel so my mother won’t find out what we’ve been doing. It’s just like with the plane. She still doesn’t know I’m flying Valentine. I’m getting my pilot’s license this year too.
She’d brain both of us if she ever found out some of the stuff we do when she’s not looking. Like the time he let me play poker with him and the guys when she was out of town. We cleaned everybody out that night. And the time he let me skim the waves in that speedboat when we were in Acapulco. He and I were flying! I kept waiting for him to tell me to slow it down, but he never did. That was such a blast! It was all I could do to not look guilty when we got back to the hotel to my mother. Then there was that time last winter that he took me with him while she was asleep in the chalet, and he let me ski the headwall with him. She’d kill us for real if she knew about that one. What a rush!
My mother came in here a while ago fussing about me being on the phone all day. I was in the middle of talking to Marnie, and she made me hang up saying I had been on the phone too long, and she wasn’t having it any more this evening. I know I had been on it a long time, but I hate when she does that. It’s not like I don’t have my own line. I’m not tying up the phone from anybody or anything when I’m on it. She talks on the phone allllll the time, the desk phone, the cordless, the console, her cell phone, and her car phone; even Daddy talks about how much time she spends on the phone, but nobody makes her hang up.
I’ll be so glad when I’m grown, and have my own place with my own phone.
Marnie had called me to say Beau called her. She was excited because he told her he’s looking forward to seeing her at the party and wanted to know what she was wearing. I’m a little concerned about Marnie and that situation. She likes to make out and stuff with boys, but I get worried she’s going to get one of them turned on and he won’t turn off when she wants him to. She gets away with that with the locals here in LA, but Beau is from out of town and he’s older than her. I told her to be careful, but I don’t think she was listening to me all that well. She hasn’t had full sex yet, and I’d hate for her first time to be something other than what she wants it to be. I know whatever she’s planning on wearing, and it’s a pool party, it will be something tastefully skimpy.
I believe she’s doing what my mother calls “acting out”. That’s when you do things because of something going on inside of you that bothers you. I think Marnie acts out because of her mother and that thing with her stepfather. When she told her mother her stepfather was acting shady with her, her mother didn’t want to believe her at first. That hurt Marnie to her heart, and I don’t think she’s let go of that yet.
Her mother is not like mine. Marnie’s mother is a lot younger than my mother, and she’s stuck on staying young. She’s a very pretty lady, but she tries to dress like she’s way younger than she is. She even wears Marnie’s clothes sometimes, and she hangs out a lot leaving Marnie at home with the housekeeper or the social secretary. Mrs. Tolbert says he’s not getting married again, but she sure has a lot of male friends sniffing around. I hesitate to call them boy friends since they’re hardly boys.
She and Marnie get into these vicious arguments sometimes that I cannot believe. They curse each other and everything. I think, let me change that, I know Marnie respects my mother far more than she does her own. I also know she fears my mother more than she does her own, and she listens better to mine as well.
Her father lives in Brentwood, but he remarried this woman who is a lot younger than he is, (his third wife) and they have two little boys. He’s doing his own thing too, so he throws money and credit cards at Marnie, and that’s supposed to make it okay. One afternoon not too long ago, I was having lunch with my mother and we saw Marnie’s father huddled up and kissing with some other woman in a back booth who wasn’t his wife. My eyes got all big; I couldn’t believe it. My mother saw him, too, and immediately told me to zip it, which I did. I have never said a word to Marnie about it. But I have trouble seeing her father in the same light as I used to when I do see him now. Why do some people have to live so shady?
Daddy says he thinks Marnie is more comfortable at our house, and that she spends so much time with us because there are rules and limits. Now that sounds a little crazy to me, but whatever. I’m just glad to have her there.
I think this is why my parents are so special to me. So many of my friends live in shaky situations like Marnie’s. Even though they get on my nerves with it, I know Jonathan and Jennifer Hart love each other like lovers, not like just man and wife. I know I’m young, but my mother talks to me about that kind of stuff, so I understand the differences in the concepts. Their consistency is something I can count on, and I appreciate it so much. Even at the times they might be going through something with each other, I know eventually they will work it out, and my world will be the same afterward.
I now understand that’s why I don’t like to go into their room too much. For the longest I couldn’t figure out why it felt so eerie to be in there. I cannot recall even one time in my life that I ever slept in their bed. When I was little, and I had to take naps or I needed someone, my mother would come to me and lay down with me in my bed. Or Daddy would come and sit with me to talk or read to me. That room and their bed is their personal space. I’m not supposed to be there because it’s where they make love. I know I’m not supposed to think about what they do in private, and it gives me the creeps to go there in my mind, but it’s real and it’s wonderful that after all this time they still love each other like that. (And I can write about whatever I want in my journal.)
I don’t think it happens for many people the way that it’s happened for them. Aunt Pat says I should feel privileged that I get to share my life with them every day. Once, on one of the times I got sent to her in New York for being nerve-wrecking to my mother, and I was sitting around feeling blue about it; Aunt Pat told me the story about how they got together, and about me being the end result of the love they share. I was so glad she told me that. I had never thought about my life in that way, and it’s an awesome thing to know.
It will be so good to see Aunt Pat in the morning. I really love that lady.
I’m going to read a while, and then maybe I’ll get sleepy.
I just had to write this.
My mother makes me sick.
I had put the journal down and started to read my book when the phone rang. It was Tommy. We had just started talking, and she cut right in on us threatening me with taking my phone and telling me to hang up.
Now I know I’ve been on the phone all day, I’ve admitted to that already, but it’s my birthday for Pete’s sake. People have been calling me all day. What am I supposed to do? Not answer? When I don’t pick up, my voice mailbox fills up, and then she’s all over me complaining about the calls switching over to her line.
She does that cutting in thing all the time when SHE determines it’s too late for me to be on the phone. She and that red light in her room get on my nerves. Why was she up anyway if it was so late?
And what was she doing???
The console with the light is way over on my father’s side of the bed. They sleep in a California king bed (oversized king). How could she see it way over on her side? Because she wasn’t on her side, that’s why. When she came in here earlier fussing about me and the phone, she had on that real slinky black gown set and he likes her in stuff like that.
She was on Daddy’s side of the bed alright, but I’m not even going there with WHY she was on his side…
She made us hang up while she was listening so she could be sure we did it when she told us to. It was so embarrassing.
Jennifer Hart and I are going to have to talk about her treatment of me. I am not a baby. At three minutes to nine, later this morning, I am going to be sixteen, and she is really going to have to lighten up.