J.J.’s Journal: Part Nine

J.J. chronicles her close call with her father, as well as the one with her mother.

 

Sunday, Aug. 12

7:50 A.M.

I just woke up.

Forgive me, I’ve been away for a while. It’s been two days since my last entry. (That sounded almost like starting a Confession, didn’t it? I haven’t done that in a while either.)

I have to go, get a shower, and get dressed. My mother is having Teddy and his father in for brunch this morning/afternoon since they’re leaving today to go back to Boston. She let me invite some of my friends, too. Even though we didn’t get to go out to breakfast alone like we wanted to, and this is the last time that I’ll see Teddy for a while, this should still be fun.

Well, I just wanted to say hello. I’ll write more later.

Good morning,

J.

_______________________________________________________________

Sunday, Aug. 12

3:57 P.M.

I haven’t written in my journal in two days- since this past Friday morning.

I told my mother that I might need another book for this year. I turned sixteen in May. It’s just August and this book is almost half filled. She said it happens like that sometimes. She starts a new book on her birthday in November every year just like I do in May. She told me that the year she married Daddy, it was in September, she had a little less than two months left before she started a new book. She went through five books in the following two years. She said that she used three books during the time that she was pregnant with me and the first year of my life. There’s only two books upstairs in the loft. Sorry to say that I saw the one, but I did. I didn’t look at the other. I wonder where the third one is that she spoke of? There’s only the two up there with my birth and first year on them.

The last time I wrote in this book, my mother was still in New York, and I was getting ready to go to the salon for my appointment. Daddy was taking me and dropping me off to get a ride to his office when I was finished because he had an early meeting. Even though I would really have liked going to New York with my mother and to see Aunt Pat, I stayed home instead to keep my appointment. Teddy was coming in later that day, and I wanted to look my best.

Aunt Pat called here when she found out I wasn’t coming, and she asked me if I had cast her aside for a boy. I told her I did, and she said that she was proud of me.

Now it’s Sunday. Teddy has been here and gone. The weekend I was so looking forward to is over, and I’m left with so much on my mind and so much to tell that I feel like my head is going to explode. There are so many things that I have stored up that I haven’t written down. So I came out here to my favorite place to catch up on my journaling.

I don’t know where to begin, there’s so much I have to say. So many things have happened in such a short span of time. I do feel like I’m growing up, though. Things happen sometimes that change you as soon as they happen. They grow you up. You don’t have a choice in the matter.

Going to Briarwood that last time and finding out all that stuff about my grandparents and my mother was like that for me. In learning about my family, I learned a lot about myself. I feel like this past weekend has been another series of those types of things.

When I’m talking to my mother, and I start rambling as I often do, she sometimes has to stop me to help me organize my thoughts.

She goes, “Wait Justine, focus on one thing.” Or she’ll say, “Start at the very beginning, and I’ll be better able to stick with you.” I’m going to try and do both.

I don’t know if I’m in love, but I’m sure that at the very least, I’m in some serious like. I really do like Teddy. He does things to me that no other boy has ever done. I don’t mean physical stuff. I mean heart things, inside things. I’ve never before felt what I’m feeling.

Most of the time I prefer for people to think that I’m pretty tough, and that nobody and nothing gets to me, but underneath, I’m not really all that. On the  inside, I’m really pretty soft and it’s easy to hurt my feelings, but I don’t want people to know that about me. It’s called keeping your guard up. But when I like someone, I like them, and I do like Teddy.

He is so tall and handsome. He has all this soft curly hair and these deep brown eyes with long black lashes, almost like a girl’s. I told him that, and he tried to be all defensive about it. But I could tell that it wasn’t the first time he had been told that, and that he wasn’t really offended by it.

I like how refined he looks when he dresses up, and I like him better when he’s his regular grungy self. As an added benefit, he has a really great body. When he was stripped down to his trunks on the boat on Friday night- whewww! Talk about your abs and thighs, both of them hard and hairy. My lord…. I sure am glad that Kyle was with us. Marnie’s little brother just doesn’t know how much his staying up under Teddy kept us, or at least me, honest.

Teddy is also very nice. We share some of the same philosophies and outlooks, but I think he leans more to the right brain than me. He has this sensitive, romantic, sort of vulnerable nature that I like and that he doesn’t really try to hide. He also isn’t afraid to try things, a feature which I guess I naturally find very attractive in a guy. I hadn’t ever really, seriously considered what I find attractive in anybody on a more personal level until it presented itself to me in the form of this very special person. I like that he’s a gentleman, but that he’s also a regular guy at the same time. He knows all the right things to do and say. He knows how to wear a tuxedo with style and which fork to use, but he doesn’t mind going barefoot on the beach in that tuxedo.

But, as I read what I’ve written so far, I can see that I’m starting to ramble. Let me get back on track.

Friday.

The salon was fun, like always. This is going to seem like a stereotypical beauty shop scene, but this is how it usually is and how it really was that day. Salvatore is good and gay, and he’s the most fun on earth. He’s a very sharp dresser and a classy person. You can relax and have fun with gay guys because you’re not all the time worried about what their ulterior motives are when they’re talking with you. I pretty much think that all straight guys view the girls they interact with as somebody they haven’t slept with yet, even the guys that are basically your friends. They can’t help it. It’s just how they are.

Anyway, Salvatore can really dish and it seems like he knows everybody’s business. His stories, when he tells them, are so colorful and funny. He gets all worked up and everything, and he has a huge command of the King’s English.. I don’t usually go in for gossip, but it’s hard to not get sucked in with Salvatore. I don’t talk. I just listen to what he says and try not to laugh- too much. But I do like how he treats me. When we’re in the booth alone, he talks to me like I’m grown, and I like that so much. He trusts me to keep stuff to myself, and he can.

After Salvatore had washed and conditioned my hair, and while he was cutting then blow drying it how I wanted it; Chloe was doing my nails and Trudi was giving me a pedicure. They know all the celebrities and everything, but that day they were going back and forth, whispering about some of everything and everybody on the hairdressing scene. Salvatore, it turned out, even knew about Marnie’s car and how she was hiding it from my mother. Marnie goes to Roberto, who is Salvatore’s friend, when she gets her hair done. She wears that straight bob, so she does it most of the time by herself. Once a month, she goes in to have it cut and conditioned. She had gone in to Roberto earlier in the week, so that was how Salvatore found out about it.

I was so glad that my mother goes to Barry’s instead of Salvatore’s most of the time when she doesn’t do her own hair. Salvatore wouldn’t have told on Marnie, but somebody else might have accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the car. We had been keeping it away from her all that time, but it really turned out to be kind of a silly thing to try to do after all.

Since our return from Maryland, we hadn’t been able to hook up anyway. I had a lot of stuff to do around here, and Daddy got me a trainer to help me with my ankle, I’ve been spending a lot of time running and working out, so I couldn’t get away to meet up with Marnie. Marnie, for her part, was too busy getting settled in at her father’s and fighting with her stepmother to meet me anywhere. She couldn’t come here to Bel Air because somebody might have seen her and mentioned it to her mother or mine.

It worked out that Marnie emailed Aunt Pat a picture of her and the car, and as our luck would have it, my mother just happened to have to go to New York. That’s where she found out about it. Aunt Pat left it on her desk, and my mother just happened to take a call at that very desk.

It was so obviously in the cards for us to get caught.

Just the same, we didn’t want my mother to know about that car. She gets so paranoid about things. I know that she wants to keep me (and Marnie) safe, but sometimes she takes it too far and treats us like we don’t have an ounce of sense or reason between us. As it worked out, we have only been together in the car once, and that was last Saturday when she first got it. Since my mother knows about it now, we figure we’ll get some restrictions put on us about it before too long. At least I will. Watch when school starts back, and see if the Duchess doesn’t trip about me hanging out in it with Marnie.

By the way, my mother knows that we call her The Duchess, too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

I never did tell my parents exactly why Ollie beat Wesley up last Saturday night. In fact, I still hadn’t told them, or anybody,  anything about all the stuff that happened last Saturday night. People were calling me like crazy all week trying to find out what was up, but I squelched it when it came my way. I felt like the less said about it the better. There were all kinds of rumors floating about by the time a week had gone by, but I wasn’t feeding into any of it. The crew knew to keep it low. Nobody wanted word of anything filtering back to my folks.

But on Friday, at different times, both my parents had gotten wind, and they both tried to hem me up about it. But I still didn’t let on to either of them what the bottom line had been. I didn’t tell them about Wesley following me or about me and Chase almost getting hit by that car. By Friday, though, my parents had found out most of it anyway. I don’t know how, but they can always tell when something is up with me.

Before they had me, when it was just them and Max, my parents did a lot of amateur detective work. God must have been prepping them for dealing with me. No matter how much I try to hide things from them- and I’m good at hiding stuff- if it’s important, somehow one or both of them almost always manages to find out. Daddy said it best last night, or should I say, early this morning. He told me that when it comes to me, if a thing gets by him; my mother will catch it and vice versa. That’s just the way that it is, too.

For instance, I had my hair cut some on Friday. It’s getting to be very long. It reached almost to my butt before I had it cut. Salvatore gave me a blunt wedge cut, taking off as much as three inches in the highest places, so that it would have some shape and body when I wore it down for the dance. Daddy must have noticed it when I got brought back to his office from the salon, but he didn’t say anything to me about it. He ratted me out to my mother, though. At lunch it was she who told me that I wasn’t to do that again. I said that I wouldn’t, but I truly don’t understand why I can’t.

If the hair is on my head, why can’t I do what I want with it? I’m the one who has to deal with it. It’s a bear to wash and blow dry, and I have to do it almost every day. She said that I can cut it when I’m eighteen if I still want to. She said I can do whatever I want to myself when I turn eighteen, but until then, me and all my assorted parts belong to her.

The day I turn eighteen, I should go out and have all my hair lopped off, right up to my ears, get a heart tattooed on my right shoulder, and get a belly button ring. Then I’d like to see what they say.

I won’t do anything that extreme, though. They wouldn’t be able to handle all of that. Neither would I, I don’t think. Well, maybe the tattoo and the belly button ring wouldn’t be so bad.

I should have told my father everything about the Saturday before last when he asked me about it in his office on Friday.  I should have told him everything that I knew at that time about Wesley and what all he was into. But how could I? I had already told him that Wesley was bothering me, harassing my male friends, trying to track me down while I was out of town, and everything.

He didn’t say as much, but I know Jonathan Hart. He was already bent out of shape and on the war path over that. I wasn’t sure, but I figured he had already alerted security to keep an eye on me, on Wesley, or maybe even both of us. I know that he uses them in certain situations. I’m sure that he doesn’t use them to spy on us, but I know he uses them to keep me and my mother safe when he feels like we might not be.

On top of everything else I had told him, how could I tell him I was nervous because the word on the street was that Wesley was on drugs? How could I tell my father that while Wesley was having sex with some girl, he called out my name as he was coming? That was disgusting enough to me. How could I tell my father something like that? I couldn’t even tell my mother, and she listens to anything I tell her, no matter how gross or how crude and low-lived (lifed). I wouldn’t tell anybody that. I won’t tell anybody that. It was bad enough having it told to me.

I haven’t had sex yet. I’ve never even really made out, gotten felt up, kissed a boy while lying down, or any of that. Right now, I know for sure that I’m not ready for any of those things. My mother told me that sex complicates things in a person’s life if he or she isn’t ready for or responsible about it. I can believe that for real. I wasn’t even the one having sex with him, but Wesley has complicated my life by what he did when he was with Issy.

I was and I’m still repulsed by the very thought of him thinking of me like that. What had to be going through his mind at that moment? Why would he think of me while he was with her? What was he seeing in his head at that moment? How could he have his mind on somebody else while he was doing it with Issy?

It must have been the drugs. Issy told Tiff that Wesley was dropping Ecstasy and that he tried to get her to do it with him before they had sex, but she told Tiff she didn’t have any of it.

When you’re doing it, don’t you think about the person you’re with, or do you fantasize about other people? That kind of seems like cheating to me.

So anyway, I didn’t tell Daddy the stuff that he should have known. Since everything went down like it did, I’ve been a little worried that I put my father, and Teddy’s father, in serious jeopardy by not telling him about the drug thing.

I’m racing again. Back to Friday.

I went to lunch with my mother that afternoon after she got back from New York. Despite the fact that she drives me crazy sometimes, I love my mother. She is a real case study. She has so many sides to her, but there’s something about her that I find amazing that’s going to sound real funny when I write it down. It isn’t a thing that I think most girls see in their mother.

My mother is sexy. Does that sound insane for me to be saying, or what? But she is.

I say that not so much because of how she looks. I say it because of how she is. She knows herself, and she’s okay with who and what she is. By her example and the things she tells me, she’s teaching me that it’s okay for me to feel that way, too. I like and admire strong women.

A lot of my friend’s mothers restrict their phone calls to boys, won’t let them date, don’t want boys talking to them; like that’s going to stop the natural order of things. They don’t talk to their girls about liking boys, boys liking them, sex, feelings, none of that stuff. Then they wonder why their girls make such dumb mistakes. Knowing what to do in those situations doesn’t come naturally, I don’t think. Somebody has to be looking out for you, talking to you, helping you, showing what to do and how to handle yourself.

My mother doesn’t hold back about that stuff, even when I might want to. She just lays the cards out on the table, face up, so that I can see exactly what’s there and I can know what I’ll be working with. Sometimes she shocks me with the things she knows about.  Maybe it’s because she’s older and so well traveled, and in that time, she’s had enough experiences to be able to tell real well what’s what. I know that Daddy wasn’t her only lover. I know of at least one, and there were probably others seeing as how she didn’t get married until she was nearly thirty, so it stands to reason that she can speak to me from what she’s actually experienced for herself. Maybe, too, it’s because Aunt Sabrina was such an important person in that part of her life. Aunt Sabrina tends to shoot from the hip, as well.

Sometimes I get the feeling that someone badly hurt my mother once, and she doesn’t want whatever happened to her to happen to me. I don’t know exactly what it is that makes her like she is, but I am so grateful for her. I can always talk to her, and I really needed her a lot this weekend. I found out that me and Daddy can talk, too. He knows some things that I need to know as they relate to guys, even if he isn’t real comfortable talking to me about them. But that’s getting ahead of the story again.

The fact that my mother doesn’t seem real concerned with her age is something else that makes me think she’s sexy. She’s fifty-five, will be fifty-six on her next birthday, but she doesn’t look it, and she doesn’t seem to care how old she is. She just goes right along like it’s no big deal.

She doesn’t try to be anybody other than who she is, like how some women want to be young forever so they go to all these ridiculous extremes like they’re going to be fooling somebody. My mother works out a lot to stay fit, and she’s super conscientious about what and how much she eats. But according to Daddy and Aunt Pat, she’s always done that, so it’s not like some last ditch, desperate effort to push back the hands of time. She’s naturally nice-looking (nice smile, good hair, nice eyes), and she has always dressed well. Not like somebody trying to look young, and not all matronly; just tasteful all the time. I’ve always liked that she dresses well and looks so good all the time.

In contrast, sometimes Marnie’s mother wears Marnie’s clothes (she’s small like Marnie), or she buys things that are tight or look too young for her. Since her last divorce, I think she’s become a bit insecure. She dates an awful lot. There’s no harm in that, I guess, but I notice that lately she dates guys who are very young. Marnie gets mad at her because she says that her mother does all that because it makes her feel like she’s younger. If that’s true, it’s kind of sad. Marnie’s mother only just turned forty, so she really isn’t that old. But so far she’s had a face lift, a nose job, and lipo on her stomach and her thighs. She was always a pretty lady, and she wasn’t ever fat.

To be fair, we do live in upscale LA where that kind of attention to appearance is pretty common. Even my mother has had some work done on her eyes. She arranged to have some fat deposits removed from under them that winter while we were in Switzerland a couple of years ago for my winter break. Daddy had a huge fit about her doing that- something about her skin. I didn’t like her doing that either. I  thought she looked fine, and I was afraid she was going to come home looking all pulled up like Joan Rivers or somebody. But she told him- and me- that she was doing it for herself. Not for him and not for me. SHE wanted it done, she said; it wasn’t about anybody else.

That shut us up.

When she stopped looking like a raccoon, I couldn’t really tell a whole lot of difference; she was still pretty, so there must not have been that much to what she had done.

That’s why I think she’s sexy.  She’s confident. So sure of herself. She’s smart, she likes who she is, she likes being female, and it shows. She wore this slammingly sexy dress to the dance last night, and I overheard several people mention how good she looked in it. Men still look at her, and I think Daddy gets off on that. She pushes me to be my best, but it’s the same kind of pushing that she puts on herself.

You know, sometimes in church and in school, they kind of give you the idea that hand-in-hand, sex and girls are bad things. They don’t say it outright, but that’s the message I’ve been getting. It’s subliminal. I mean look at it: in the Bible, Eve supposedly tempted Adam. There was Solomon and Sheba. Jezebel. Mary Magdalene. The women are kind of depicted as conniving and vixen-like and the men sort of like good, but gullible Joes who are easily led astray by women.

Jesus’ mother was a virgin, according to whoever wrote that part of the Bible. If Jesus had a virgin birth, are the rest of us unclean or something? Why a virgin birth? That would make sex bad, wouldn’t it? But isn’t sex what grown people are supposed to do? Why is virginity such an important thing? In some cultures, girls get devalued, sometimes even killed for not being virgins- or even for being suspected of not being virgins- before they get married. They even get tested to see if they are. To me, a virgin is somebody who hasn’t really lived yet. You know, still like a child who lives at home with her parents, or something. Are women who have sex considered dirty or tainted as opposed to the woman who is a virgin? If so, why is that? Aren’t men and women supposed to get together? Isn’t that how it was set up?

See, it was those kinds of contradictions that would get me to thinking. It was that thinking that would get me called blasphemous and cause me to get put out of Catechism class by Sister Anastasia, and get me into big trouble with my mother. Like the time Sister all of a sudden casually mentioned something about Adam and Eve’s son, Cain having a wife and a child.

Instantly confused, I stopped her to ask if Cain had married his sister. She said, “no”, real fast and tried to keep going. But then I asked where did the wife come from if Adam and Eve, the first people, only had two sons? I started to ask her about where the kid came from if Eve was the only woman, but I didn’t go there.

Up to that point, Sister had only taught us about Adam and Eve and their two sons, Cain and Abel. Even though I was little, I already knew where babies came from, and I kind of figured that he wouldn’t have gotten a baby with his mother. At least I hoped not. Then all of a sudden, here Sister comes up out of no where with this wife. I told her that she wasn’t making sense, that whatever the case, he had to have married either his sister or his mother, and that didn’t sound right to me.

Well, she put me out. Then Sister A. and my parents had to have a conference.

I had to sit there and listen to her tell, in a roundabout way, what a rude little disruptive heathen I was. Sister A. and my mother, both agreed that I was smart. My mother told her I tended to think a lot about things, and then Sister said I tended to talk too much about those things that I think about. Daddy didn’t say anything, like usual, when I get in those kinds of situations with Sister A. But as I sat there on his lap, I could tell by the way he was rubbing my back the whole time that he could see the point in my asking the questions I had asked.

Later, when it was just us by ourselves, he said that he could see why I was getting all confused by the stuff she was telling us. He also told me there was nothing wrong with asking questions when I had them, but to try to be polite about it.

After a couple more of those kinds of episodes, especially after the time I asked why Mary Magdalene was considered a public sinner, and Sister A. got mad and wouldn’t elaborate on what kinds of sins she was publicly committing; I just quit asking questions at all in Catechism class. I found out on my own, later on, what Mary Magdalene’s problem was. Aunt Sabrina told me. After I made my Confirmation in the fourth grade, I quit going to Catechism class altogether. I think everybody, all the way around, was okay with that.

In all the “Just say no” crap at school, they almost always show a girl in the picture of the person who’s supposed to be saying “no” or it’s a picture of a pregnant girl all by herself. First of all, let me just say that not too many people are wholesale buying into that “just say no” stuff. It depends on the people involved, how they feel about each other and themselves, and on what’s happening at that moment.

And why is it always the girl who gets the pressure put on her to say no, or who ends up being the ‘fallen woman’ when things don’t work out? You never hear about the ‘fallen man’. Let’s not even go into the studs v/s sluts thing. All of that makes me mad. I haven’t said anything much to anybody about it lately, but I notice things like that all the time. It’s so subtle and pervasive that if you aren’t paying attention, you don’t notice your head being filled with it and how it shapes your thoughts. I see it all the time, and it’s getting on every nerve I have.

When my mother talks to me about female things, I can tell that she wants me to feel that sex and  female sexuality are natural and normal. Like I’m supposed to feel and react to certain things just like boys are entitled to do, but that I’m also supposed to be responsible about my feelings and my actions- just like boys should be.

Mission accomplished, Jennifer. I do, for the most part, feel pretty good about me. I just hope I always feel this way, like you do about you.

I’m going to stop for a minute. I’m getting all jumbled and scrambled up again.

_______________________________________________________________

Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001

4:22 P.M.

The in-order thing is probably not going to work. There’s just too much to say and I’m all over the place with it. And anyway, who’s going to see this except me and perhaps the person who sneaks to read it? He or she deserves to be confused, if they do.

Yes, that’s what I said.  DESERVE IT.

DON’T BE NOSY. It’s MY record of my life as told to this book.

Anyway,

_______________________________________________________________

Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001

6:17 P.M.

I had to stop again because my parents turned up at the gazebo from out of nowhere just when I was getting started again.

It seems they had gone for a walk after taking a swim, and that’s where they ended up. They didn’t know that I was out there. They thought I was in the house, but I wasn’t. I was out there trying to write. Knowing the two of them like I do, there’s no telling what their real reason was for being all the way out there. And in swimsuits, too? I take that back. There is some telling why they were out there. I’m probably the only kid in America who has to deal with parents like these two.

My mother’s suit was cut pretty low in the front, as usual for her, but she had a hickey on her breast. Of course, I pointed it out to her. She was so embarrassed. Then, right after, she recovered and she wanted to kill me.

Why kill me? I wasn’t the one with the hickey, and I wasn’t the party responsible for her having the one she had.

Actually, I saw it first last night after she went off on Mrs. Singleton. ACTUALLY, I saw while she was bent over, going off on Mrs. Singleton. At the time, I could see she was red in that spot, but I was too far away from her to tell what it really was. Then too, my mind wasn’t focused on that right then. When I was finally closer to her, and I could see what it was, it wasn’t the right time to go there with her. I had just witnessed her almost make Mrs. Singleton pee on herself. No way was I going to be making jokes about a passion mark being on her boob right then, even though while she was standing there in front of me with that strawberry on her on one of hers, she was pulling up my top to keep mine hidden out of sight.

But when I did let her know today that I saw it, and that I knew what it was, she tried to come after me. I ducked out of her way, and then Daddy held her back, so that I was able to get out of the gazebo just in time. It was as soooooo funny to have her be in the harlot’s seat for once. I almost died laughing once I cleared that gazebo, and I was sure that she wasn’t going to get loose from him.

They should be ashamed of themselves, the way they carry on. But that’s yet another reason for me to think my mother is sexy. And my Daddy, too, but he goes without saying.

He’s a distinguished, handsome, wealthy gentleman, so he gets the eye all the time from the ladies, especially from the gold diggers, both old and young. It goes with the territory. But, one of the reasons my mother went off on Mrs. Singleton was because of him.

I didn’t know anything about it, but Mrs. Singleton must have made a play at some point for my father, and it got back to my mother that she did. I wonder what in the world Mrs. Singleton could have been thinking. She and my mother go all the way back to high school. She had to know what my mother would do to her if she found out. What a low-life. They were supposed to be friends.

Well, Mrs. S. can cancel Christmas now because once you get on Jennifer Hart’s Sh– List, you can forget it. And she took the time to personally go off on Mrs.S. about it, too? Georgette Singleton is as good as dog-doo, socially, from here on out. Normally, my mother just quietly puts people on ice when they get on her bad side; they probably don’t even know they’ve been iced until way down the line. But she told Mrs. Singleton all the way off. I mean, Jennifer Hart was pissed to the max, if you know what I mean.

The whole evening was great like that, and it just kept being that.

Teddy picked me up to go to the dance, but, of course, we didn’t go straight there. We went to Marnie’s first. She had a sneak pre-dance party at her mother’s, just for our crew. Her mother had already left for the club, and Marnie didn’t want to deal with her father setting a curfew on her and Chance, so she used her mother’s house to give the party. The help likes Marnie; I get the feeling they don’t care that much for her mother, so they went along with it.

From there, we went to the pier to where Philly’s father was giving this huge party for his production crew. We all hung out there, having a good time, until our fathers called all of our cells to find out where in the world we were. Teddy’s father called me, and my father called Teddy. If we hadn’t been so rattled by it, it might have been funny. I knew that I was in for it, and that made me nervous, so, quite naturally, when we did get back to the country club I had to use the facilities.

I go in, use it, and come out. Mrs. Singleton is sitting there in the lounge. She must have seen me go into the powder room, and she followed me because she immediately went into trying to hem me up about why I wasn’t talking to Wesley or taking his calls any more.

I wanted to hit her in her mouth so bad. Nobody, aside from my parents, gets away with confronting and questioning me like she was trying to. It took everything I had to remain polite. I kept trying to dodge her nosing around in by business, but she wouldn’t let me. She just kept pushing and pushing, acting like she didn’t know who Teddy was and wanting to know what kind of relationship we had. Finally she made the mistake of bringing my mother into it, talking about what my mother wouldn’t like and how she was going to tell on me for being rude to her and everything because I wouldn’t answer her stupid questions. I swear I was just about to cuss her out and tell her about her druggie, sex fiend, club-kid son when my mother stepped into the room from the back.

She had been hiding out in one of the stalls, waiting for me so that she could ambush me about being gone so long with Teddy and the others. She hates it when I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Instead, she ended up hearing every word Mrs. Singleton said to me, and she did not like it.

I crack up every time I think of my mother, Jennifer Edwards Hart- class personified, standing on top of a toilet in the ladies room dressed in a five digit gown and heels, crouched down and scoping out her unsuspecting prey, patiently w-a-a-a-a-i-i-i-i-ting.

How did she even think to do that? That’s some stuff I might do. What if Marnie hadn’t decided to hold hers, and she had gone in there with me, and the Duchess had ambushed both of us, catching Marnie in mid-curse? And you know Marnie would have been cursing about our fathers calling us in and being out front like they were when we got there. My mother was probably banking on catching Marnie, too. Jen is such a mess.

I always knew that she had a nasty streak. She’s never really gone all the way off on me, but she’s gotten close. With Daddy, she really did once. That time it was over something that had to do with me.

But there was that time when I was fourteen when she wouldn’t let me go to Marnie’s party because it was a sleepover at her house and not a day party at the country club.  I snuck out, and called myself running away to go to the party anyway. You know, I look back on that sometimes, and I wonder what in the world I could have been thinking? Just a stupid little crazy kid, I guess. I be too scared to do something like that  with her now.

When my mother found out I was gone, she got in her car, came after me, and  caught me on the back road. My wrist was red for days where she grabbed me to pull me up off the ground from where I had been hiding from her. She had a flashlight with her, and I swear I can still see her face, and every freckle on it lit up by the beam. She was so red and so mad she was shaking. I just knew that at any minute she was going to slap the living daylights out of me. When she pushed me into the car, it was the first time she had ever put her hands on me like that in anger. She was fiery mad at me that night.

For some reason, when it was over and I could think about that night, I always had the feeling that she was scared more than she was angry. But I know without a doubt that she wanted to kick my behind.

When she got me home, little idiot that I was back then, I was still trying to act all cool and hard despite having been cold busted. But when she was following me up those stairs after she ordered me to get to my room, I was praying to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and anybody else up there who was listening, to keep her from jumping on me from behind. If she hadn’t been so sick, like it turned out she was, she might have done just that.

Daddy was out of town, but when he got back the next day and found out what I did and that my mother was in the hospital, even he said that if he had known what was going on, he would have gotten after me. What he actually said was that if he had been the one to come after me; he would have taken off his belt and “beat my little ass” himself right there on the side of the road.

I would have just plain died of shame if my Daddy had hit me. I’ve never had a spanking or a whipping in my entire life. I’ve come close, I’m sure, but I know when to quit while quitting is still an option.

Mrs. Singleton got told off like nobody’s business. I swear, if it had taken place in the locker room at our school, Marnie would have been out in front of the door, set up and charging admission. It was sooooooo good. When it was happening, I’m not ashamed to say, I was pretty shocked and scared. I thought for sure that my mother was going to slug her. It was funny. It almost felt like she had turned into my older sister, and she had shown up to take on the big girl who was bullying me because I was smaller than her. Jennifer Hart must have been saving up her anger at Georgette Singleton for a long time because once she got started on her, she didn’t let up until she was through with her. She wouldn’t even let her talk.

She had leaned way down into Mrs. Singleton’s face, intimidating her just like she was a senior and Mrs. Singleton was a brand-new, really green freshman she had hemmed up in a back corner of the restroom.

Then, to make it even worse, when she was through telling her off, my mother asked Mrs. Singleton if she clearly understood everything that had been said to her.

Mrs. Singleton said, “Yes”, (all scared and everything) that she did.

And then (this was so cool) my mother put her hand on her hip and asked her, “Yes, who?”, and she made Mrs. S. say, “Yes, Jennifer.” to her.

Bow down.

All of the “common” that Jennifer Hart has in her and that she tries to keep under wraps from the  rest of the world, rose to her surface last night, and I was there to witness it. She said Mrs. Singleton had pressed her “bitch button”. I always knew she had one. I just didn’t know, until last night, that it was labeled, “Jonathan and J.J.”.

I was so shocked by the things she said and at how she acted. It was nothing short of vicious. But at the same time, I was so very proud. It was beyond cool.

My mother went to bat for me, and she grand slammed that woman’s head right out of the ballpark. The only bad thing about it was that she swore me to secrecy afterwards, so I can’t tell anybody what happened.

It’s probably just as well that she won’t let me tell it. I couldn’t possibly do the story justice. It was just too good- one of those moments when you wish you had your girls with you to witness it for themselves because you could never tell it as good as it happened. What’s odd about it, too, was that in all that time we were in the powder room, nobody else came in to use it. Only the three of us know what happened. She talks a lot, but I doubt that Mrs. Singleton will be letting on about that to anybody.

Maybe it’ll be okay to tell Daddy or Aunt Pat about it some time down the line. Either one of them would get a big kick out of hearing that story. But I’ll have to wait a good while, you know, until the heat of it dies down some.

We’re having a late dinner tonight, and it’s almost time. I’d better stop and get washed up. Be back later.

J.

_______________________________________________________________

Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001

7:45 P.M.

I’m in the den.

My parents are in the great room, talking. They have to hammer out and coordinate their schedules for next week. They do that on most Sunday evenings when they have some down time. At dinner, Daddy mentioned that he has meetings all the way up to Wednesday morning. My mother has to go to San Diego on Tuesday to see her agent, Aunt Marcia. She’ll be gone until the weekend.

I like Aunt Marcia, but she isn’t Aunt Pat. Nobody is like Aunt Pat.  My parents picked the right person to be my godmother. Aunt Sabrina might have been good, too, but she would have been too old. If a godmother is supposed to take over in case something happens to the mother, then the risk was that she might not have been around. And anyway, she was already my mother’s godmother. She still is.

My mother wanted me to go with her to San Diego, but then Daddy mentioned that he had to fly up to the ranch to check out some new horses he purchased sight unseen from a broker there in Colorado. He said I could go with him if I wanted instead, so you know who I’ll be with when he leaves out of here Thursday morning. She was none too happy, of course, about leaving me here, essentially unattended for two summer, no-school-to-occupy me, days. She’s leaving Tuesday morning, and Daddy will be at work all Tuesday and Wednesday. But I reminded her that Marie will be here, I’m sixteen now, and that she can trust me to properly conduct myself. She came right back at me, talking about my interpretation of proper and hers were two different things.

Oh, it was me at the dinner table tonight wearing a high-necked shirt to hide the vampire bite on my left tit, right? I was the one who couldn’t look her daughter in the eye the entire time?

And Daddy wasn’t making it any better. He had this silly smirk on his face all through the very quiet meal.

Then she said that if I was staying home, that I wasn’t to be all over LA during the day, or  hanging out in Marnie’s car at all hours of the night. My curfew was still midnight on the dot, and that I couldn’t spend the night at Marnie’s or anywhere else while she was gone because she knows how I tend to not stay put. Also, I couldn’t have company in the house- or on the grounds- when Daddy wasn’t home. And I wasn’t to call Daddy to try to change any of that because we both know better. The whole time, Daddy was sitting behind her rolling his eyes. I was facing her, so I couldn’t do it with him, but I felt just like him.

Whatever. We knew all of that was coming. We’d been over all of that before.

I’m kind of old for it to be a real issue now, but if for some reason, they had broken up when I was younger, there wouldn’t have been any argument at all over which parent would have been custodial. Forget splitting up all the material possessions. That would not have been her first order of business. Right off the bat, first thing, she would have been huddled up with her lawyers, making completely sure that my behind stayed with her. He would have been allowed liberal visitation; she wouldn’t have kept me away from him, but to leave me with Daddy on a full time basis- no way would she let that happen. She would have been too worried about me being on the wild and/or spoiled completely rotten.

She wouldn’t have been too far from wrong. I love my Daddy, he loves me, but together, we do have issues. When it’s just us, we don’t always do the right things. Left to ourselves for too long, the house would soon be a combination casino/ pool hall/ speakeasy/ greasy spoon.

I haven’t had time yet, but I’ll find a loophole or two somewhere in all of what she said. She forces me to do that. She lays it down so strong until trying to figure out how to get by her becomes a challenge I just can’t resist. I’m sure she’s left herself open in a couple of places. I just have to take a few quiet minutes to work it all out.

If she only knew how swift I could be, she’d let up. I’m like a nun compared to a lot of other people I know.

I’m a little tired so I know that I’m starting to ramble, but I’m going to continue and try to make sense.

Like I said, Teddy got here on Friday. Since we ended up not getting away from here until after dinner, we didn’t have a lot of time. I took him to see a few places around LA, just so he could see my world. While I was showing him the garden at the convent and orphanage, we ran into Sister Anastasia. Like normal, she was all rude to me. After I introduced Teddy and I told her we were out together for the evening, she prayed over us. I know she was only praying over me. She didn’t like the tee shirt I had on. She doesn’t like that I wear pants, and not dresses, a lot. She doesn’t like that I don’t wear my hair down, don’t come to church every single Sunday, won’t tell her when I went to confession last, and on and on. She’ll just have to get over it. I don’t know why she gives me the blues like she does.

Then Teddy had the nerve to say that we had the same color eyes. I could have put his eyes out for saying that to me. I would dislike her intensely if I was absolutely sure that she didn’t have some kind of in with God. She must have, to be as old as she is and to still be giving people hell like she does.

I really am irreverent.

We went down to Hart, and I showed Teddy a little of the inside of  the building. After I got him up on Daddy’s floor, I started to feel a little self conscious about everything. I don’t think a lot about it, but for somebody looking at it from the outside, my parents’ holdings have to be overwhelming. But that Teddy is a funny fellow. He was paying more attention to the pictures of my family that Daddy keeps everywhere, and to the fact that my father had put it all together from nothing than he was to the material things themselves. I was glad of that. I didn’t want to seem like I was showing off. That he had that kind of reaction told me some good things about him.

While we were there, I saw Uncle Marcus and Tommy’s mother together down in the atrium. They were there after hours all by themselves at a table, and they were holding hands. I’m sure they thought they were alone, and I didn’t want them to know that I saw them, so I got us out of there in a hurry.

I wonder how long that’s been going on? For some time now, I’ve had the feeling that something was up with Uncle Marcus. Ever since that time we went to Chicago earlier this year, and he kept going back to his hotel room rather than spending time with us, I’ve been thinking that. I wonder if it was Mrs. Steele he kept going back to his room to call? I wonder if Tommy or his grandmother knows what’s up? He’s begged off a couple of other things since then, things that he would normally be right up front for.

For Uncle Marcus and Mrs. Steele, I hope it works out however they want it to. I like them both. They’re both nice people who have been alone a long time.

I still haven’t heard from Tommy. There was nothing again today, but I won’t go there right now. I don’t want to talk about that. I’m still sort of having a hard time with his not being here. It’s true what they say about not missing someone until they’re really gone.

From the Towers, Teddy and I got some ice cream at the DQ. There’s always someone there that I know, so I introduced him around. Issy was there, too, but we didn’t speak. After that, we went to meet up with everybody at the pier, and we took the Barnett’s sailboat out. It was such a nice night. There was a good breeze, and the company was the best. Teddy wanted to kiss me, and I wanted to kiss him. It was obvious that he really likes me, too. But I didn’t let him kiss me the way that he wanted to.

First of all, there were too many other people around, and I don’t like for people to know my personal business. It was just all of us kids on the boat-no adults- so we could easily have gone below to do it in private. Nobody would have stopped us. But if we had gone down there, we would have really been doing it. I could tell that we were both hot for each other, and I wasn’t getting hemmed up. Guys are ruled more by their hormones, girls by their hearts. My mother says that girls get periods and boys get horny. I wanted to keep my period, so I didn’t go below with that potentially horny boy.

We did swim together, but as long I was in just that suit and he was in just those trunks, I sort of kept my distance. He kept looking to me, and I could tell that he wanted to get close to me, but he didn’t ask me about it, and he didn’t press me. I think he might have felt what I was feeling, and so he understood.

See, I knew what I was doing earlier this year when my mother asked me if I wanted to go on the pill to help me with my cramps and my anemia, and I said that I didn’t. If I had been on the pill this weekend, there is really no telling what I might have gotten myself into. For me, there has to be some kind of braking force. The idea of slipping and doing it, and then getting knocked up, and having to tell my father- because she would make me tell him- was enough for me to keep my lips to myself that night. I would hate to disappoint my father like that. My mother would probably understand and try to help me, but I think he would be so let down and hurt.

I’m too young in the head right now to even deal with the idea of all of that anyway. I mean, there a lot to consider: would I keep the baby? I’m sixteen, what would I do with a baby? Sometimes I get on my own nerves. Would I get an abortion? Could I handle having an abortion? Even though I believe its a personal choice, do I believe in abortion as an option for myself?  Even though she would want me to finish school, I couldn’t give my baby to my mother to raise, that’s for sure. She wouldn’t even be having that. She probably wouldn’t even baby sit that often. A nanny would be out. Who would pay for a nanny? The kid would be all mine, and my mother would make me be responsible for it, just like she was responsible for me when she got me.

Forget all of that. I’ve seen for myself the mess kids can make of their lives. I know a couple of girls who have had abortions. They weren’t quite the same afterward. Or maybe it was just my perception of them that changed. To be on the safe side, J.J. Hart will just stay in her clothes for now.

I said I was going to talk about Friday and Saturday.

With Teddy here, I was really nervous about Wesley. He’s been such a jerk. I know the drugs affect his judgment, but they also make him even more repulsive to me. I don’t like them, and I don’t like the lifestyle he’s trying to lead. He’s all into appearances and making impressions. He trades on his parents’ money and position, rather than forging a personality and position for himself. He’s also bigoted and arrogant. Tommy and Chase think he considers me some kind of trophy. It’s a common thing to be here; trophy girl, trophy wife- but it’s not for me. I’m nobody’s trophy anything.

Wesley wasn’t always like this. At least I didn’t see him like this. But maybe he has always been this way, and I have only just come to the place in my own level of maturity to see him for what he really is.

I had the feeling that he had been trying to dog Teddy about me, too, but I never could get Teddy to tell me for sure. It turned out that he was, and that Teddy had told his own father about it because he didn’t want there to be any problems while he was here. His father and mine hooked up and got together on it. It’s definitely done.

But have you ever been in a situation where you wanted somebody to get theirs, and when they did finally get it, you felt bad for them? Despite the fact that he’s been such a jackass, I can’t help feeling sorry for Wes, and I hate that he’s messed up his life like he has. But he has. And we are through. My father, I think, was a little disappointed in me for caring, but I’ll go into that later to keep from skipping around.

I’m going to stop. I’m exhausted. I’m going to go up and get a shower and stuff. Then maybe I’ll pick up where I left off after I get in the bed. A shower will refresh me.

Or it will put me to sleep, in which case, I’ll be back tomorrow.

J.

_______________________________________________________________

 

Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001

10:31 P.M.

I’m back, but I don’t know for how long. If the pen trails off the page, you’ll know what happened.

Where were we? At the dance.

We got to the club, and all of our fathers were standing around out front waiting for us to get there. It was kind a hairy situation because we didn’t know what to expect. Teddy didn’t even know his father was going to be there. We didn’t know if they were mad or just trying to light a fire under us by calling us up like they did, but it turns out they weren’t mad. They didn’t even ask where we had been, so we all just went in. But, like I said before, by that time I had worried myself into having to use it, so I went to the powder room where my mother set it off shortly afterward.

From there, Teddy and I went to the patio where everybody else was. I introduced Teddy all around to my friends out there, and that’s when I found out that Issy had been acting up.

She let my girls catch her trying to get Teddy’s attention. She had gone up to him, trying to talk to him while I was in the powder room. He had been waiting for me in the lobby, and that’s when Issy must have taken her first shot. Camille saw her do it. Then, she was allegedly eyeing him out on the patio. Despite the fact that my friends thought I should take it to her, I was willing to let all of that go. I don’t deal too much in hearsay other than to maybe make a note that I did hear it said, in case something more should  come of it. I mean, it’s okay to look and to talk. Nobody belongs to anybody. But then I saw Issy do that for myself as we were approaching her little group to go inside to dinner.

Now it’s one thing to try to flirt with a guy when he’s alone and fair game, but Teddy was with me then, and she made sure that I saw her do it. I took that as an insult, and that was one insult too many. She already had an outstanding bill for the first one.

I hadn’t even planned to do her right away. In fact, I had forgotten about her, for the most part. But no way was she going to get away with having called me a bitch AND with giving my date the eye while I was with him. No way. You know, I’m told it’s better to get your swimming in before you eat rather than after. You might catch a cramp after. Somehow Miss Issy Hawthorne ended up taking a swim right before dinner, still dressed in that white Versace she had on. Catching a cramp would not be an issue for her.

She had chosen the wrong moment and the wrong location to continue to try to egg me on. She caught a case, trying to mess with me for a second time.

I did feel a little sorry for the people who were standing near her or who were sitting poolside. They got their clothes wet and/or ruined, too. Collateral damage. Unfortunate, but that’s just how it is sometimes.

I didn’t see him do it, but evidently it was Russell who helped her out of the pool. As early as this morning, Issy was calling all around, trying to find out who he was. She even broke down and called me, if you can believe that. The girl has absolutely no scruples or sense of pride. She couldn’t have seen me do it, but she had to suspect it was me who was responsible for her taking that running leap into the pool. She knew I had just passed her, and it had to be me who poked her in the behind. (It was smooth and quick, so I don’t think anybody actually saw me do it.) But she didn’t even bring any of that up. She just went right into describing Russell to me, asking if I knew who he was, like we had never fallen out with each other. I acted like I didn’t know who she was talking about.

Issy is seventeen. Russell is twenty-eight. I know Issy sometimes dates way older guys, and that her parents let her, but Russell won’t be one of them if I have any part to play in it. If she does end up getting to him, it won’t be because of me. I like Russell, and I want him to meet somebody nice, somebody mature, smart, and established like him. I don’t care if he gets married or not. I just think he should have a special lady friend of his own to spend time with and to be happy with. He says he doesn’t have time right now, and he probably doesn’t. He has made his own niche in his short time at Hart. Russell is going places, and right now he’s focused on that. He’s going to Italy for a month. Maybe while he’s there, he’ll meet someone to at least keep him company during his stay.

When I’m older, I’m going to travel everywhere, all over the world. Lately I’m seriously thinking that I don’t want to go to college right away. In England, students take what they call a gap year after they graduate from high school. They work or travel for a year before starting University. I have another two years to work up to it, but I might ask if I can do that. There are so many things I’d like to do after I graduate and I’m on my own. I’ve been in school practically all of my life, and there are other ways to learn than sitting in a desk.

Teddy and I talked about it, and about how nice it would be if we could do Europe together, but he’ll graduate a year before me, so even if we took a year off, he’d be getting back from his gap year as I was leaving for mine. I’ll see how I feel about it when it’s closer to that time. I might feel differently about things then. We may feel differently about each other by then. But I hope not.

Teddy turned out to be a very good dancer. I was really nervous being that close to him at first, but after the first dance, I was okay. We were dancing to “I Just Fall In Love Again”, and Teddy noticed that my mother was singing to my father as they were dancing not too far away from us. Daddy was smiling as she did it. They are such a trip, and I told Teddy that. He said I should be happy for them and for that. I get the feeling that his parents’ divorce affected him very deeply. We haven’t really talked about it, but he’s alluded to it several times. Having spent the weekend in his company, I get the feeling that there’s something important going on inside him. On the surface, he seems like any other boy, but he says things and comes up with things that make me know that he has a lot on his mind.

He also seems to have a very good relationship with his father. Teddy talks about him a lot, more than he does his mother, and it sounds like they’re very close. I don’t know many guys who get along with their fathers that well. Usually, with guys, they just seem to kind of exist alongside their fathers. Guys and their fathers seem to do a lot talking to, rather than with, each other. It’s like that with the twins. They love their father, and Mr. Barnett loves them; that’s evident, but you don’t see them do a lot of just sitting down and talking with each other. Maybe that’s typical and what Teddy and his father have, isn’t.

Teddy and his father actually talk and listen to each other. When his parents split up four years ago, Teddy opted to live with his father rather than his mother. They moved from Virginia to Boston, and Teddy started Brookfield Boys’ School in Gresham. His father seems very nurturing and supportive, more so than a lot of fathers of sons- the nurturing thing, I mean. I like Mr. Baxter. I told Teddy that he should tell his father that he doesn’t want to go into the family business, but as the only son, Teddy kind of feels like that’s what his father expects. I think he might be surprised if he talks to his father. I hope they talk about it soon.

Like I said before, Teddy wasn’t expecting his father to be at the dance. Mr. Baxter surprised him and came with Dina Magyar. She’s an actress, a kind of old school diva. Right now, she’s working on some soap opera, I’m told. Drama queen that I know her to be, it’s fitting. She’s an acquaintance of my parents, but not really what I would call a friend. I’ve noticed that my mother tends to keep her at a distance. That’s usually an indicator.

Ms. Magyar was pretty cold to Teddy when his father introduced him to her. I don’t know what that was all about, but it wasn’t a good move on her part. Mr. Baxter didn’t appreciate it, I could tell. He didn’t say anything to me about it, but I think it hurt Teddy’s feelings that she acted like that. It was a dumb thing for her to do. Going into it, Teddy didn’t have anything against her, and his father probably thinks a lot less of her because she did that. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. But I guess that’s what happens when you start believing your own hype; you lose your perspective and start thinking you’re more important to other people than you actually are. I see it sometimes with ‘star’ athletes at school. They get good and get the big head and then they start wanting to treat the ‘little’ people any kind of way. It happens a lot with people in show business, at least with a lot of the ones I’ve met.

My parents, especially my mother, still tend to keep me away from that. Even though they know a lot of people in the business, they don’t move in their circles. They’ve taken me to some premiers, I’ve been on sets and backstage occasionally with some of their friends, usually it’s with my father. He knows everybody, it seems. I even went to an Oscar presentation once, but they really try to limit my exposure to the industry and to public cameras. That’s been even more intense a thing with them since my bad time last spring. I think they like the more generic friendships I have developed and the lower key lifestyle I lead. They never kick too much about where I go and who I hang out with.

Speaking of friends, my mother finally caught up to Marnie about the car. I don’t know how I did it, but I totally forgot to mention to Marnie that my mother had found out about the car. Marnie hadn’t been to our house in almost two weeks, trying to keep the car on the down low. Since she moved in with her father right after we got back from Briarwood, she hadn’t been to see her mother, either. She and her mother don’t have the best of relationships, but her mother is her mother, and my mother insists upon Marnie respecting that- in her presence, anyway.

Everybody else had gone out onto the dance floor, leaving me and Marnie at the table. Marnie, with her nasty self, was asking me if I had made Teddy get hard when we were dancing together. I should probably tell you that crotch-monitoring is a hobby with her. She likes to look and see how big a guy’s hands and feet are, and she uses that information to try and gauge how big he might be down there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to check her for being obvious while she was conducting her ‘investigations’. She’s short, and she has a good, compact little figure. She knows it, and she uses it to her advantage. At a dance or a party, it’s not a good night for her if she can’t feel at least one somebody lose it while she’s dancing with him.

Anyway, she was just getting into trying to probe me for information about the size of Teddy’s hardware-so to speak- when all of a sudden my mother appeared behind her. She slank up the table and put her hands on Marnie’s shoulders. Marnie hadn’t seen her coming, so it kind of shocked her when she did it. Then my mother sat down next to her, leaning in kind of like she had done Mrs. Singleton in the bathroom. I knew Marn’s number was up. I knew the Duchess was going to get on her about her behavior at their table when Marnie saw her mother with that young guy she had brought with her to the dance (They had a huge fight in bathroom right after.), and I knew she was going to ask about that car.

I was right.

When my mother checked her about being disrespectful to her mother, Marnie tried to change the subject by complimenting my mother on her dress. The compliment was used by my mother to slide right on into asking Marnie about her car. At that point, I got up.

Marnie is my girl, no doubt, but I could tell that there was no saving her from that direct hit that was coming her way and since the Duchess wasn’t talking to me, there was no sense in both of us getting it. I excused myself and headed for the garden to get some air.

Later, Marnie cursed me out for abandoning her and for not telling her that my mother knew about the car. That was a cursing out I just had to take. No way was I staying to watch her get grilled and risk getting caught up in it myself, and there was nothing I could do to fix not having told her. What difference would it have made anyway? She was still going to get the third degree about it, regardless. And she need not think it’s over. As soon as school starts back, she’s going to hear some more about it.

It’s the weirdest thing, but her parents let my mother dictate to her. It’s as if her parents have legal and physical custody, but my mother is the actual parent. So strange, but so effective. Marnie can do her parents, but she cannot do the Duchess. The Duchess isn’t having it- from me or from my best friend. What’s even more strange is that Marnie takes it from her, and I’m beginning to think that my mother enjoys looking out for her.

I bet that when my parents had me, they had no idea what a package deal it would be: me and all of my assorted friends.

This weekend, it seems that my father had adopted all of the guys to play big brother to me. I didn’t know it, but I was traveling with bodyguards the whole time: the twins, Ollie and Teddy, who had been deputized by all of our fathers. The entire operation had been spearheaded by mine. I was wondering why Chase kept staying up under Teddy and me, getting in the car with us and stuff. I could have killed him for being in my way like that. I thought he was trying to keep an eye on Teddy. It turns out that they were both watching my back.

Daddy had told them to be on the lookout for Wesley and to keep him and/or the other fathers informed if anything looked fishy. They had a hunch that Wesley might turn up at the dance and cause problems for Teddy or for me. The guys didn’t tell me any of that until brunch earlier today. Daddy had let me in on a little bit of it when we talked early this morning, but I didn’t know I had S.W.A.T. all around me. I was almost mad about being left in the dark about it, like I had been, until Chase told me I needed to chill out, and Teddy said that I ought to be glad that I have so many people who love me and care about what happens to me. It was hard to argue with that and with them. The big lugs.

It turns out that Wesley really was at the Country Club, and Daddy knew it. Not only did he have the boys watching out for me, but he had his own security people there, too. He had also told Russell to keep an eye out for me. Russell already knew about Wesley being a pain to me from a talk we had at my birthday party. Normally, I don’t tell people my business or my problems, but Russell is different. I haven’t known him all that long, but I trust him totally. I can’t explain why. I just always have.

When I left Marnie hemmed up at the table with my mother, I went out to the side garden by myself to get some air and to think. I love that garden; I always have. It’s very quiet and pretty. There are a lot of different types of flowers, shrubs, trees and a small fountain that people make wishes and throw coins into. Daddy and I used to go for walks out there when I was little, and we would make wishes. He would give me his coins to throw in for his wishes because he said I was his good luck charm.

I always wondered what he wished for. We never told each other our wishes because he told me that if you talked about wishes, they wouldn’t come true.

This isn’t really talking. I used to wish that he would be my Daddy forever. Like he was going somewhere or that he could stop being that even if he wanted to.

One of my earliest memories of getting in trouble happened out there. I must have been very young because I can remember not being able to see over the hedges that now barely come to my thigh. My parents had left me in the nursery, but as soon as I could, I escaped. I ended up making it out there. I was lost, and I was looking around, trying to find my way back. I ended up running (literally) right into my father who was out there with my mother. My mother fussed and fussed about my leaving the nursery and being too small to be out on my own. My Daddy just laughed about it and picked me up from where I had almost knocked myself out, running into his legs. They too me back inside to the nursery where everybody  was frantically looking for me. All I remember after that is that he smelled so good.

I was having such a nice time out there by myself. Even in the company of the best of people, I have moments when I just want to be with myself. There was so much that I wanted to reflect upon, and so much that I wanted a few minutes on my own to think about. I’ve taken quite a few hits in the past year, and I’ve also had some very good times. I was thinking about the time that I was in that same garden with Wesley when he was my escort for the Mission Street Ball. We were walking, and then all of a sudden we heard that gunshot; I knew something bad had happened, but he tried to keep me from going back in. That incident still hurts to think about it.

I had just gotten to the back end of the garden, when I looked up in time to see that something was going on with the bushes out there ahead of me, along the wall. They were moving, and I got the eerie feeling that something or somebody was in them, waiting for me.

Just as I was making ready to get out of there, Russell walked up behind me, scaring the crap out of me, claiming that he had come outside to get some air, and had seen me out there. In reality, he had followed me out there, and where I should be mad about that, it might have been a very good thing. I didn’t tell Daddy about it, but I’m pretty sure that it was Wesley was in those bushes. Wesley knows I like the garden, and he knows I like to go out there by myself when I’m at the Club.

Russell always seems to magically turn up at times when I need him. I’m sure that it was Wesley in those bushes. Their movement scared me, and I don’t scare easily. When I get a hunch that something isn’t right, it usually isn’t. At the time, I didn’t think about it being Wes, I wasn’t thinking it was someone I knew, but in hindsight, I know it was him.

I wonder what he had planned? I wonder what he thought he could do with me? Did he just want to watch me or did he intend to do something to me? Before I cut him out of my life, when I was letting him get close to me, he was always trying to get me off by myself. It didn’t feel right, so I started avoiding him. Ollie finally broke down and told me that Wesley had ordered some GHB off the internet. That’s a date rape drug, but sometimes people take it themselves to get high.

I wonder… It’s all rather frightening that a lifelong friendship could turn into something like this. Guys can be so strange.

When we were talking this morning, Daddy didn’t seem as concerned as I thought he might be about Wesley getting sick and falling out  like he did. He told me about it, but sounding almost detached from it. His voice was all flat and emotionless. I won’t say that he didn’t care, but that’s kind of the feeling I was getting from him.

I wonder if my mother ever sees things in him that are strange to her? Probably not. They’ve been together since the dawn of time.

After a while, we (the crew) all decided to leave the dance and go back out to the pier. But when it was time to leave the club with the group, Teddy held me back in the lobby. It surprised me that he was doing that, and I started to ask why we were staying behind, But when I looked at his face, and by the way he was staring out of the door, I knew we were all just following a script. That was when I first knew that something was up.

Daddy, my mother, and Mr. Baxter walked the rest of them out to the cars.  A couple of minutes later, Teddy and I went out behind them. Teddy took me to my father’s car where my mother was in the back seat already. Teddy’s rental was pulling out of the lot with everybody else. Teddy waited until they were gone before he started Daddy’s car and we left. We dropped my mother off at home, and then we went back out. But we never did go to the pier with the others. I didn’t want to. I wanted us to spend some time by ourselves.

I didn’t see it, and I didn’t find out about it until later, but sure enough, Wes followed the Mustang. Even if he hadn’t been on those drugs, when they got to where they were going, he still would have to have almost died when he saw Daddy and Mr. Baxter get out of that car instead of me and Teddy. When it all went down, Mr. Singleton and Wes’s oldest brother were there, too. I guess they could see something was wrong with Wes, and they weren’t in denial about it. Daddy had some of his security people were there, and Captain Gray had sent some uniforms to keep an eye on things as a personal favor to my father. It was a pretty big deal. Daddy must have gotten wind of the GHB thing.

With all the strain he was under, it’s no surprise that Wes’s heart almost stopped when he got caught in the act like that.

Wes is in the hospital, and I understand he’s in pretty bad shape. He not only had drugs in his system, but he had some on him, so he’s also in legal trouble. This afternoon in the gazebo with both my parents, I asked if they had heard anything more on Wes’s condition, and I think Daddy almost got mad at me for caring. My mother had to put the silent check on him to get him to back down and to stop him from tipping his hand to me. She was too late, though, I had already seen it.

Maybe he felt like he didn’t get closure or something, but whatever it is, it’s already eating at him.

My father had to have been pretty worked up, though. So many things have happened in such a short time. My mother had that thing at the ball last year with Andy Seagren drugging her. Tommy and I got kidnapped. Then I had that problem with being stalked. Now here’s this mess with Wesley. My father doesn’t allow anything or anybody to interfere with his family. You have to consider that he’s going to be very protective of the only family he has. In all those other incidents, he got to deal with the people and exact own his revenge. But, it’s different this time. Wesley is just a kid, and he’s very sick on several levels. Maybe Daddy felt like he got cheated out of venting his anger.

Whatever. All I know for sure is I love my father, and I don’t want him to be upset about stuff like this.

Right before we left the dance to go hang out, Daddy took me out to dance with him. While we were dancing, he asked me about my feelings for Teddy. It made me nervous; he and I don’t normally talk about things like that, but what was worse was I could tell that he was nervous, too. As close as we are, I think he has difficulty adjusting to my not being so little any more and with getting used to my wanting to have other males be a part of my life.

But he’s trying. He spoke to me about respecting myself so that boys will respect me. He told me that when he was seventeen he had done some things of which, in hindsight, he wasn’t very proud. He said that boys will do what girls let them because they’re ruled more by their hormones. I already knew that. My mother had told me that, but it was good to have him open up to me and to know that he cared enough about me to tell it to me from his own lips. As much as I know he loves me, the issue of my sexuality (potential) embarrasses him and makes him nervous. It’s kind of funny when you consider the way he and my mother carry on. But maybe that’s why he is like he is. Then too, I guess he has flashbacks of stuff he did with other people’s daughters, and he knows that there’s somebody out there waiting to try it with his.

While we were dancing he also said that I was special to him because I was his only blood relation, that not even my mother is that to him. That’s really something, isn’t it? In the whole world, as far as we know, it’s just him and me.

I wonder what he thought when he found out a kid was finally coming to them after all that time. I wish I knew what went through his mind the first time he saw me.

When I was little, I remember that I used to worry that he loved my mother more than me- like it was a competition or something- and I used to do and say things to get him to not like her so much. She would get on me about things I would do, and when he got home from work, I would tell on her so that he could punish her like she would punish me. Needless to say, it didn’t work (smile). To humor me, though, he would listen to me, and then act like he was going to get after her.

I was too young to realize that even if he had gotten her, she probably would have liked whatever he did to her.

When I got older, I realized that he loves her differently from how he loves me. I understood that he couldn’t love us the same because we play very different roles in his life. But last night, what he said and the way that he said it made me really see our relationship for all that it is. It’s a very huge thing- and solid. There’s a lot riding on this girl that he named J.J. Hart. I grew up some more while I was dancing with my father last night.

Ever since I can remember, my father and I have had this kind of special and separate life that we lead away from my mother. It’s a space in our lives together that she is not a part of. It’s just him and me in that space, sharing sunrises and flying, racing boats, playing cards and gambling, sneaking junk food, all of our secrets we have to try to keep from my mother and stuff that we eventually got caught at anyway, and now our private talk.

With her, he has their “affair” of which I am certainly not a part. And it’s okay that it’s like that. When I leave home for good, and it’s not the three of us any more; they’ll still have each other. And I’ll have all the things they have both taught me. My father, he’s so smart. He keeps us both safe and happy and makes us both feel special to him.

I’ll bet he was a mess at seventeen. I know he was cute; I’ve seen the pictures. He looked a little like a hood, but he was cute with it, kind of like Tommy, but even more like Chase. I bet he had girls all over him, and I bet he gave Max the blues. Marnie said if she had been around back then, she would definitely have talked to him.

I know she would have. My Daddy wears a size eleven shoe and has thick thumbs.

I’m really getting sleepy- and quite obviously delirious- so, I’ll have to pick this back up tomorrow.

Good night,                                                                                                                                                         J.

_______________________________________________________________

Monday, Aug. 13, 2001

3:57 A.M.

Well, it’s tomorrow and I’m back. A little earlier and not quite the way I thought I would be, but here I am just the same.

I had a dream and it woke me, so of course I’ll be up a while now. I remember the dream, so you know it had to be either very weird or very good. This one was a little of both.

I dreamt that Teddy and I were in Barcelona- I can’t imagine why Barcelona-, and I guess we were on tour because we were in jeans, riding bikes and we had backpacks with us. It was getting dark, and we were tired and hungry, so we stopped at a little inn to get a room for the night.

Our room was small and far from fancy, but it was very clean and very pretty. The curtains and bedclothes matched and there were fresh flowers on the little table by the window. I was feeling funny because we were all alone together, and it was evident that we were going to be sharing the one bed. Teddy kissed me on the cheek and told me to go ahead and use the bathroom that was there in our room; he was going to use the community one down the hall.

I took a bath, but I hadn’t packed any night clothes, so I put on one of the jerseys I’d brought with me. It was one of the Raider’s jerseys my father bought for me when I was in the hospital for my ankle while we were in Maryland this last time. He bought me two, and I love them because they’re big and roomy. They’re also special to me because I had just casually mentioned to him that I would like to get one or the other, and then there he was with both of them. I was feeling bad about being in the hospital, and then there he was with something he knew would make me feel better. He seems to always know the right things to do when it comes to me.

When I came out of the bathroom, I was nervous because I realized that I didn’t want to do it with Teddy. I liked being with him, I wanted to lie down and sleep with him, but I didn’t want to have sex. It wasn’t the right time, and I didn’t know how well he was going to take that. I was thinking I should have gotten my own room, and I was remembering all the things my mother had told me about not sending out signals and about not leading boys on. Surely I had led him to believe that we were going to go all the way.

But when I came out of the bathroom, Teddy was already in the bed, and he was asleep. He looked so good with no shirt on and all that curly hair of his on the pillow. His face was so peaceful. We had ridden all day and I knew he was tired. I lit a candle (I love candles.), and I turned off the light. Then I got into the bed very quietly so that I wouldn’t wake him. Right before I fell asleep, he rolled over and put his arms around me, but he didn’t push himself against me, and he didn’t try anything.

It seemed like some time went by, and I woke up again. I was still in his arms, and the candle was still going. By the light of it, I could see that there was someone sitting in the chair by the window. Even though I couldn’t clearly see her, I knew who it was. Like she could see that I was awake, she got up and came to the bedside to stand over us. I was right away embarrassed by her seeing me in bed with a boy.

But my grandmother didn’t seem surprised or upset about that. I wondered why she kept coming to me in my sleep like she does, and I opened my mouth to ask her that. But she put her finger to her lips, and gestured for me to turn around and look behind me. That was when I realized that Teddy’s body was longer and bigger, his arm that was around me and lying on top of the covers was a lot more muscular. He was holding me much closer to him than he had been and he seemed to be all around me.

I looked back like she told me, and I saw that it was Tommy sleeping in bed with me. It was Tommy who was holding me and seeming to be all around me. I hadn’t seen him in such a long time, and by the candlelight, he was beautiful. I looked back to my grandmother to ask her how that could have happened and what it all meant. But she was gone.

That was when I woke up for real. But it was one of those awakenings when you feel so good with it.

I have no idea what that was all about, but I wish to God I could have known my grandmother in real life. I think she would have been able to tell me so much. I know we would have liked each other. I also know that I miss Tommy more than I ever thought I would. I don’t know how to reach him, and the waiting for him to get into contact with me is killing me.

Grandmama didn’t want me to wake him. She told me to be quiet. Maybe she was telling me to just wait on him, and that even though he’s silent and our relationship seems dormant for the moment, he was thinking about me, too. I hope so.

Teddy and I did sleep together while he was here. Daddy told me. He said that he came in the room and we were on the floor of the den asleep. He said it was the second time I had done that to him. It crossed my mind to tell him that he just didn’t know, but he’s not like my mother. He couldn’t take that kind of ribbing in that area.

I didn’t tell him that the last thing I remember was that I was on the floor- by myself. We had gotten tired of playing the game and Teddy was on the couch. He had drank both glasses of milk and had eaten most of the cookies. I didn’t want my milk, so he drank it, saying that it was good for his stomach. He had been nervous and was recovering from having my father’s Rolls. I told him that it was just a car to my father, but Teddy wasn’t buying that. He said it was guy thing, and that I wouldn’t understand.

But he was the one who didn’t understand. Daddy had given us that car for more reasons than to just throw Wesley off. That car is still equipped with my tracking device. The gun is still loaded into that steering wheel as well as the one hidden in the door panel on the passenger’s side. Teddy didn’t know all of that, but I did and Daddy knew that I did. He also knew that I would do what I had to with those things should it have come to that.

I was tired, and I put my head down. That’s the last I remember. Teddy had to have come over there on his own, and lay himself down next to me after I had dropped off.

Right here in my parents’ house, he took his only shot. The boy has no shame, and that’s why I like him.

And that’s also why we ended up back here at the house.

Rather than returning to the pier with the others after we dropped my mother off, he and I had gone to  my little cove on the beach by my parents’ other house. That’s where he kissed me the first time. All the stars were lined up just right, and we both could feel it. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, and I didn’t want him to stop even though I knew we should.

Right after we had left my house that last time, we had made a pact that if it got too hot between us, we would go back. My mother was at home, and we would be okay hanging out there. Both of us agreed that we need that kind of braking force. Back in the car, we kissed again. He pulled away from me, started the car and got us back to Willow Pond.

I went right upstairs to change. My skirt was all wet at the bottom and it felt nasty. I had taken off my shoes to keep them from being ruined by the wet skirt. My mother, who I guess heard us come in, met me at the head of the stairs. She just shook her head when she saw what I had done to my clothes, and that I was barefoot. She didn’t even fuss. She knew what was up because I was home way earlier than my curfew. She just asked if Teddy was wet, too, and then she got him a pair of Daddy’s sweat pants to change into, which she threw down to him over the railing. (They were way big on him, and he had to keep pulling them up. It was so funny.)

She came to my room with me while I changed, talking about she thought the agreement was that I was supposed to leave him in the car when he brought me home. I let her know that I some credit coming. I had come home ten minutes early the night before, and I was home almost an hour and a half before I had to be that night. She might not have been keeping track, but I was. Then I reminded her that I, and “it”, could still be out there where she couldn’t see us. At least I brought it home to her like she told me to do.

She just burst out laughing at what I said. I love it when my mother laughs. I wonder if she used to like to hear her mother laugh and if my grandmother’s laugh sounded like hers.

I can tell why Daddy picked Jennifer Edwards to marry and to keep with him. She’s a mess and in her own way, she regulates him the way that she regulates me. He and I both need guidance and help to stay grounded and on track. He was lucky that Max came into his life when he did, but I’m even luckier than him. Not only do I have my mother, I apparently also have my grandmother. On top of that,  I have an observant, good, and wise father to look out for me, to teach me, and to make a way for me. He knows the pitfalls that are out there, and although he can’t keep me from falling into all of them, he at least tries to either fill them in before I get to them, or he lets know they’re coming up, what size and how deep they are, so that I can be on the lookout for them and be prepared to deal with them.

I’m looking out.

I’m going to try to go back to sleep. I’m a witch when I haven’t had my adequate amount of rest. Then me and Jennifer will be at each other’s throats tomorrow while we try to get packed for our trips.

I can’t wait to get to the ranch and see the horses and for Daddy to make some of his five-alarm chili.

Until,

J.

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