J.J.’s Journal, Part Six

May 2, 2001

8:57 A.M.

Right now, at this very minute, I am sixteen. I was born on May 2, 1985 at 8:57 A.M.

This is my first entry in my Year Sixteen journal. This will be Book Five. I have been keeping journals since I was twelve when my mother gave me the very first one. I remember holding on to it and looking at it for a week because I didn’t know what to write in it. Now it seems that I don’t know what to leave out.

Right now I am at the airport with Uncle Bill waiting for Aunt Pat’s flight to get to the gate. Her plane has touched down already and we’re waiting for her here at the baggage claim.

This morning before I left, I had Uncle Marcus call Daddy into a breakfast meeting with the ‘mystery client’ at the Hilton. He left the house before we did. That’s left my mother on her own supervising everyone at the house who has to set up for the party.

After we collect Aunt Pat and her luggage, the three of us are going from here to Daddy’s office to make the video. Everybody else who’s involved in it will meet us over there.

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

I probably won’t have a chance to write any more today so…

Happy Sweet Sixteen to me, J.J. Hart!  And all my love to Jonathan and Jennifer Hart.
Until whenever, J.

_____________________________________________________

May 3

4:42 A.M.

Had to get this down while it is hot off the press…

Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill are in the guest house together! They were kissing on the driveway! I saw them go to the guest house with my own eyes. I cannot believe it!

I had a feeling they were a little too cozy for the casual friends that they would like for me to believe they are.

Oh my God, I am going to just die!

My mother would be telling me to mind my own business if she were here, but she isn’t and I had to tell somebody. This is just too good to keep to myself, but since I can’t really discuss it with anybody, I’m writing it in here just to get it told and out of me because I can’t hold on to something like this too long. I wonder if my mother knows about them. I wonder if Daddy has wind of it. I really can’t let anybody know that I know because I found out while I was doing something that I shouldn’t have been doing. I was snooping in the dining room and found Daddy’s monitors and I saw Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat on one of them.

Now I wish I didn’t know. My mother really ought to be here. If she were, she would have put me off the phone two hours ago, and I’d be asleep and ignorant of all of this. Now I know that they’re out there probably doing it with each other, and when I see them again, I’ll have to act like I don’t know anything about it. I’m not sure if I can.

You know, nosiness isn’t all the fun it’s cracked up to be. There’s something to that saying about ignorance being bliss.

I guess I’m going to bed for real now. This has been one heck of a night!

When I do sit down to seriously write about it all, I know it’s going to have to be done in sections and it will be  rambling all over the place, but I have so much to tell about everything.

Good Morning
May 3

3:37 P.M.

I got up real late and there was so much going on up at the house that I came out here to the gazebo so that I could concentrate. The service is still cleaning up at the house. Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat have gone out. They asked me to come with them to have dinner, but I think they really wanted to be alone, and that’s just fine. I’m not alert enough to put on an act like I don’t know about them, so I might just let something slip. Opting out was a choice that was open to me, so I exercised my option. I left Marie to her supervising of the house and grounds keeping, and I brought Third outside with me.

I had such a good time last night, and I’m still pretty tired from it all.

I am so glad that I stuck to my guns and had a pool party like always. My mother really wanted me to have a formal affair this year at the country club, but I didn’t want it. I like having the party here so that all my friends can come. I like all kinds of people, but the country club crowd isn’t always so accepting. I would hate for anyone that I know to feel uncomfortable or out of place when I’ve invited them somewhere. I am also more comfortable in my own digs. I can do what I want in the way that I want when I’m at home. It was for the best because everyone came, and I think they enjoyed themselves.

I wore a pair of custom designed leather pants that Aunt Pat had made for me in New York. She brought them to me when she came yesterday morning. They were powder blue with long fringes down the legs and I wore a powder blue body suit with them. The look was too hot, if I must say so myself. One thing I do know about myself is that I have good legs and good boobs. The outfit showcased all of that, and I definitely liked the look.

I was a little nervous about what my mother would think about my hookup, but guess what? It turns out that she was a hottie at one time too. Aunt Pat brought me a picture of her when she was my age and she had on an outfit that was very similar to mine, but a lot more risqué. It was all buckskin and her pants had laces on the butt. Mine at least had a zipper and it was in the front where I have control over it. I had on a body suit. She only had on a short jacket with two buttons and just a bra underneath. But I’m the Bohemian, like my Aunt Sabrina, right? The picture was supposed to be used as ammunition in case she tried to go there with me about my outfit. I don’t know if I would have had the nerve to pull it out, but it turned out that it wasn’t necessary anyway.

She let me slide, she said, because I was entertaining at home.  I wanted to wear makeup too last night, but she wouldn’t do it like I wanted. She said that it would just run when I got hot from dancing. What I really think is she didn’t want any more attention drawn to me than the outfit was going to draw on its own. So, she just applied a little eye makeup and some blush. She said that I didn’t need lipstick. She said that I was rosy enough without all of that, and then she kissed me.

I love my mother even though she can make me so mad sometimes.

Then she gave me some speech about conducting myself like a total lady; like Justine Jennifer Hart and not like J.J. Hart. I don’t know what she meant by that, but I let her have that one for free; I didn’t comment. I was anxious to get out to my party, so I didn’t stop to debate the difference with her at that particular moment. We might have to revisit that, though, for the sake of clarification.

And talking about my mother, it seems that she caught Marnie on her way out to the gazebo to make out with Beau. I had advised her prior to the party, when she first told me of her plans to go out there and make out with him, not to try that, but she ignored my warning and did it anyway. My mother must have seen her and of course she waved her in.

I got called in too, but by Aunt Pat. She must have known that I was playing cards for money out back. I wasn’t sure at the time, but I had a feeling. I found out for sure later what the deal was. She called me into the kitchen and just told me not to be doing anything that my mother would put me on lockdown for if she caught me doing it. That could only have been about the gambling. I wasn’t doing anything else objectionable at the time. While she was talking to me, security brought Marnie in. I found out later that my mother had called Marnie up to her bedroom. That was when I realized that something funny was going on.

When Marnie got back outside from meeting with the Duchess up in her room and getting raked over the coals by her for being “a tease”, she was all nervous and sweaty and stuff, and she was trying to figure out how she got caught. It was at that point that I put it together and figured out that we were all being watched, and that was why Daddy was so agreeable to staying in the house for the party. He had covert cameras stationed everywhere and the monitors had to be in the dining room where the doors stay closed and nobody ever goes.

Right before I came outside for the party, I found out that Daddy was in there, but I didn’t know get a chance to find out why. When Marnie and I compared notes it all started to make sense to me. I was mad about it at first and I wanted to find them and sabotage them. Charmaine talked me down. She said that it wasn’t worth all that drama, which it wasn’t. Admittedly, some of my friends can be a little shady, so despite my feelings of resentment, I decided not to fight it.

What Marnie had better really be happy about was that she got caught before she made it all the way to the gazebo. I found out late last night, when I was snooping around, that there was a camera trained directly on its interior and if Jennifer Hart had caught her in there making out with that nineteen year old on film… I shudder to even think about that.

Lately my mother has been getting with Marnie almost like she gets with me. It didn’t used to be that way, but after that thing where Marnie’s stepfather was acting nasty with her. I notice that my mother has been taking more time with her and talking with her more about things. I overheard her telling Daddy that Marnie worries her because she’s “swift” and she doesn’t want to see her get messed up. She also said that her mother wasn’t taking enough time with her. Last night Marnie’s mother didn’t come to the party because she had a date. She could have come here with Marnie and brought her male companion with her. That would have been alright. Tommy’s mother and his grandmother were here. Several of my friends parents’ came and stayed. Maybe my mother has a point about Mrs. Tolbert.

Talking about cameras, Russell was here last night. He came to head up the crew taking the pictures for the party. I knew that he was making the arrangements; Daddy told me that he had arranged it, but I really didn’t think that he would come himself. He’s an executive at Hart industries now, in charge of the visual imaging division. Daddy is bringing him along. I think he has big plans for Russell. I hear him talking about how smart he is and how much initiative he takes in running his division. Russell has taken a photography franchise, and in one year has brought about so many changes and innovations that even Daddy and his board are impressed. I’m glad that my meeting Russell has caused so many positives in his and Daddy’s lives, even if Russell’s good fortune did come about from my mother getting hurt because of me.

It still hurts so much. It’s like having a sore spot that only hurts if you happen to bump it, but when you do it catches you off guard and you want to scream, it hurts so bad.

If Russell hadn’t been there to stop that man, there’s no telling what might have happened to her. She was there in the back hall of the Country Club by herself fighting with him and he had drugged her by the time Russell got there. I was outside in the garden with Wesley and I didn’t know any of what was going on, but I did let Russell know earlier that evening that I felt something was going to happen. I didn’t know to whom or when or what, but I felt it in my bones that someone was going to get hurt and I had Tommy get Russell the gun that he used to stop Andy Seagren. I’ll never forget that night as long as I live, and I will always be grateful to Russell for being in the right place at the right time. Daddy was too, and that’s how Russell came to Hart and into our hearts. He always tells me that I’m his good luck charm. He has no idea that he’s really mine.

I didn’t get to talk much with Russell at the party. He kept a low profile most of the night, but he was there at the important moments: when I first came downstairs, when they brought out my cake, to talk to me when Wesley had pissed me completely off, and he was there to say good night to me at the very end when everybody else was gone.

Last night was the first time that I noticed what a handsome man he is. He looks more mature since he’s become an up and comer; he’s way older than me anyway so he would look mature to me, but I can tell that he’s still fun-loving Russell underneath the polish. I was glad that he took the time to stop and come in to tell me good night. He didn’t have to. I’m just a kid compared to him, but he’s always treated me like a lady- with kindness and respect.

My father was so bad. By nine-thirty last night Daddy had eaten four chili dogs. He was sneaking them in and wolfing them down real fast so that my mother wouldn’t catch him at it. They couldn’t have digested properly as fast as he was putting them away, so I know he had to be good and sick by the time he and my mother made it to the yacht last night. If he was sick, then she was real mad at him. He does that every year. He knows that the onions and spices on those things don’t agree with him, but he doesn’t seem to care. He gets people to slip them to him, along with whatever other crap he can get his hands on, and then he’s just too sick later. He says that it’s worth it, but I don’t know how that can be. He’s ill, and then he has to deal with his wife’s snotty attitude on top of it. I don’t think any chili dog is worth being sick over AND having to deal with Jennifer Hart in one of her major snits.

My cell is ringing.
May 3

5:47 P.M.

That was Wesley on the phone. I cannot believe him. He’s almost starting to make me a little nervous.

Last night he wanted to be all over me, but I managed to avoid him most of the time. He’s liked me for a while now, but last night at the party, he seemed a bit more persistent than in the past. I got to thinking about those signals my mother says that I send out. I don’t try to, and I don’t know what triggers him, but no matter how I tried to politely discourage him, he just kept on pushing and pushing until I was forced to be rude to him.

Other boys aren’t like that. Only Wesley comes at me like that. I’m with Tommy all the time, but he never, ever acts like that. He never presses me with that junk. I know other boys who are attracted to me too, but once again, none of them push like Wesley. I think it’s worrying Ollie some too. I don’t know what he knows from talking with Wesley, but he made that call to me to warn me. I didn’t recognize it for what it was at the time, but during the party last night, I caught him watching Wesley when he was with me the few times that he was. I could tell that he was looking out for me.

Wesley was calling because he wanted to come by to see me before he left for school. I begged off by telling him that I was tired and that I wouldn’t be very good company, which wasn’t altogether untrue.

I think I’m going to put some communication distance between Wesley and me once he gets back to school. Maybe if I’m silent for a while he’ll take the down time to meet some girl in Boston and forget about me. I’ve begun to see some things in him that tell me that I’d be wise to discourage his interest in me. I’m afraid that he thinks his parents’ social and economic status put him above, or at least not quite in the same line with other people.

He messed up right out of the gate by asking me if I was waiting for Prince Charming and if that was the reason why I didn’t have a boyfriend. I resented that. It sounded like he was trying to call me immature. I know that Prince Charming, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, Peter Pan, and all that nonsense is just that. I always have. When I was little, I remember my mother taking me to see Sesame Street Live. I could see the people’s eyes inside the mouths of the costumes, and I told her that if she looked real close she could see them too. When we got home, she told Daddy that she wasn’t wasting her money on me like that again. After that, she started taking me to real plays and productions. I’ve never been that kind of a kid. Wesley doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.

He referred to my friends who ride motorcycles as ‘greasers’, and when Juan Carlos expressed an interest in my friend, Philly, he was quick to say that he thought she was who he should be with since she’s of “Mexican descent” also. Juan is Argentinean and Philly is Puerto Rican. I don’t like to see people lumped into groups like that by someone who doesn’t even bother to take the time to try to know the difference. Wesley does that a lot.

Even Marnie picked up on it last night. She’s never been real crazy about Wesley anyway. I think she just tolerates him because he’s my friend, and that’s what we tend to do with each other’s friends who don’t particularly appeal to us personally. But I noticed last night that she kept doing things to move him away from me as if she knew that he was getting on my nerves. Maybe he was just on hers, I don’t know. But at one point she had Dre play “I Belong to You” which could only have been a dig at Wesley because she dedicated it to Tommy and me, and had Dre to announce it over the mike.

Tommy came and got me from the table where I just happened to be seated with Wesley at the time, and we danced to it. We did ballroom on that cut and it was so much fun. I like dancing with Tommy. He’s big, but he’s so light on his feet and he has all the right moves. While we were dancing I managed to catch Wesley out of the corner of my eye. He looked fit to be tied, and then I saw Marnie sitting back at the table with Wesley. She looked just like the cat who swallowed the canary. She was so wrong for that, but I had to laugh. That’s my girl.

One time Wesley asked me why I was bothering to learn so many foreign languages when the international language was English anyway. I don’t think he’s the one for me nor I for him. I don’t think he really likes me for me, he likes me for what he thinks I represent, He doesn’t realize that what he thinks is me really isn’t me at all.

Although I love both my parents, I think I identify more with Daddy. My father is who he is because of his humble roots and upbringing. He has been very wise in his rearing of me to make sure that I am exposed to all kinds of people and lifestyles. He fits in very well anywhere in any situation and I want to be like him. I don’t think he’s ever forgotten where he started. I’m never quite sure of how he feels about being an orphan because he’s so easy-going most of the time, but I’m sure that it’s shaped his perspectives and perceptions. My mother’s travels and career have ensured that she too has a very global appreciation of people and cultures. Both of them have instilled within me that ability to value the differences in people, and I’m grateful to them for that. It’s given me a definite advantage in being able to assimilate myself into different situations. People, in their diversity, are fascinating to me .

If you really think about it, even the two of them are very diverse in their backgrounds. Daddy and I were flying one afternoon and we were talking about what would happen to us if my mother ever found out that I was the one at the controls most Saturdays. He started telling me about how he always wanted to fly as a kid, but that then he didn’t have so much as a toy airplane. He never thought that one day he would actually own a fleet of planes. He said that he never, ever thought that a woman like my mother would look twice at a guy like him because, “Let’s face it. I’m just white trash with money. As far as I know, I don’t have the blue blood your mother has.”

He sort of shocked me saying that. I hadn’t ever looked at it like that before. He had a point, but then I asked him what immediately came to my mind: what difference did it make? My mother still fell in love with him, married him right off the bat, and she has remained by his side all this time. I told him that it must not matter if the guy is the right one, and he’s got the right stuff.

He laughed and said that it didn’t matter and that was the point he was making with me and flying; it doesn’t matter about where you start or what you have to go through along the way as long as you come out of it in the chips. He definitely did. It’s the same with my pilot’s license. It won’t matter how much hell she raises. Even if she grounds me until I’m eighteen, I’ll still have the license and I’ll still know how to fly planes.

I wonder if my parents are having a good time today. They probably didn’t last night, though. He was most likely pretty sick, and if so, she spent the night fussing at him while fixing him back up. I saw him do it and I told him about it, but he said that it would be worth it. I hope it was because she can really fuss when she gets worked up about something. His health is something she stays worked up about. She’s very conscientious about our diets. He and I have junk food cravings that get us into trouble at times. His are far worse than mine- more deeply ingrained, I guess.

He turned me on to chocolate chip cookies and milk. He used to keep our cookies that he bought zipped up in the teddy bear that I stored my nightgown in. At night when he came in to me with my milk before I went to sleep, we would sneak and have cookies too.

One day, when my mother was gathering my clothes for the wash instead of Marie, she found the box of cookies inside the bear along with the nightgown. She knew right away that he had done it, and when he got home, she gave him the blues about corrupting me as well as filling me and him with fattening chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. She’s a fitness and food fanatic. I say enjoy yourself. You only go around once.

I left written instructions in their stateroom that they were not to call me or try to check on me. They were only to think about themselves. Even though I told them that, and that is what I want them to do, I do miss them right now.

I can see my daddy sitting next to me in the cockpit, telling me, “Take it up, J.” right before we lift off. I love flying that plane, just like he does.

I can hear my mother calling me “my sweet girl” in one breath, and “just plain common” in the next. She’s a real trip, but I love her anyway.

I’m going to miss them when I go away to school. It’s two years down the line, but it’s coming and it makes me a little sad to think about it. At times I wish I didn’t ever have to grow up, but most of the time, I can’t wait. There are so many things that I want to do and try in life, and to do them I have to grow up and get out into the world on my own.

I have to go to college even though I’m not real crazy about the idea. I’d rather just skip that step and jump right into my real life, but I know that I can’t. Everything in it’s own time, is what my mother tells me when I start wanting to rush into doing something. I know that I have to prepare to do the things that I really want to do. but I do know that I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone and whip through all of that in the minimum amount of time. Forget sororities, partying and all that crap in college. I won’t have time. I’m going to school full time, year round because I want to have my first degree by at least twenty-two so that I can get on with life.

I want to put together a state of the art sound studio where recording artists would want to work, and I could help them make and arrange their music. I love good music so much. I like playing it on the piano or the keyboard, I like listening to it. I love mixing and sampling it, and I am all into enhancing the sound of it. I’m finding that the older I get, the more I’m fascinated by all kinds of music. We have a group of Nigerian exchange students at my school who sing in our choir, but they also have their own group where the sing a cappella (without accompanying music). They make the most pure, resonant, harmonious tones I have ever heard in my life. The sang “Happy Birthday” to me at my party, and I almost cried.

I’d like to travel whenever, however, and everywhere. I want to own a jet so that I can fly it all over the world on my own like my father does. Then I’ll write about all the things I see and do like my mother. One day, I’ll sit in my father’s chair at the helm of Hart Industries because that’s probably my ultimate destiny anyway. As long as there is a Hart Industries, a Hart will occupy that seat. I’ve been paying attention to Hart business for years, but I don’t think Daddy knows I’m serious yet.

I want to live on a ranch and raise Arabians. I’d like to have a house at the beach too, like the one my parents have right off the Pacific coast. I want to fall in love and I want to have babies. Even though I like being an only child myself, I’d have more than one child, and I’d have them sooner than my parents had me so that my children wouldn’t have to worry about running out of time with me. I’d like to have at least three so that they could keep each other company, and then as they grew up they would have memories to share with each other.

It would be nice to have a husband, but I think my expectations are too high for that. Jonathan Harts don’t come every day to everybody, and not too many men are going to want me for the right reasons. I’d settle for just one man who I could trust to truly love me for me, and who would like to have and raise children with me. I wouldn’t expect his total commitment, nor do I think I would want to give him mine, but I think I could be content with a happy medium.

I’m going to have to have my children early so that my parents can have grandchildren to enjoy before they are too old to do so, and so that my children can get to know what wonderful people their grandparents are.

But speaking of my children’s grandparents, I’ve concluded that they are as crazy as hell. They came to my party when it was time for the candles on my cake to be lit dressed in these skanky, low-life outfits calling themselves my Uncle Vern and Aunt Edna. They were yelling at each other in these fake southern accents and the outfits they had on were beyond tawdry.

Daddy wore this loud red, orange, and yellow plaid jacket and some red bell bottom pants that were way too short. He had on white socks with black, lace-up shoes and he was wearing this big curly black wig and a fake moustache. My mother, well, she looked just like a hooker. Long platinum wig, sleazy, short dress, feather boa- the works. Just like a street walker with good legs, that’s all I can say. She had on stiletto heels with the clear platform soles and all. The bad part about it was she wore it so well.

I have never been so embarrassed in all my life. I just wanted to crawl all the way under a table, roll up into a fetal position, and stay there for the rest of the night. Everybody, all my friends and everybody, saw them like that. Then, when they took the cover off my cake, I found that they had put custom-designed dolls dressed just like how they were dressed and one that was supposed to be me, with this horrified expression, on top of the cake. The dolls were priceless. They looked just like all three of us. Mine even had my ponytail and boots!

That was a good one on me. I’ve kept the dolls and I put them in my memory box. Every year my parents surprise me in some way, but this one was the best. In the end all I could do was laugh. Daddy was a prize bumpkin. My mother looked like a first class tramp, and I just couldn’t get with that. It was so out of character for both of them, but really it was for her.

If it had happened to someone else at their Sweet Sixteen party, I would have died laughing. Last night, the laughs were on me. I’ve had about six calls today about that. People are still howling.

Maybe I should rethink having my kids spend so much time with the Harts after all. It’s bad enough that I’m going to be their mother.

I’m getting hungry. I think I’m going to go in and get something to eat.

Until Later.
May 3

7:17 P.M.

I’m back.

It’s been a pretty quiet day. Tommy was supposed to come over and play a few sets with me, but he called while I was eating to say that his grandmother had him hemmed up in her condo moving furniture and doing other stuff for her. He said that he had been there all day and every time he thinks he’s finished, she has something else for him to do. He isn’t going to make it now.

I told him that it was okay and that I would see him in school tomorrow. I didn’t really feel like playing tennis, but I would have gone for a swim with him when he got here. I ended up swimming fifteen laps by myself. I needed to loosen up.

I try to do something as a workout every day. We have an exercise room with a fully equipped gym, but I prefer to be outside running, swimming, or playing basketball or tennis. I prefer physical activities, but I do try to work with the weights three times a week. At school, a bunch of us, including Tommy, work out in the weight room together a couple of times a week. Tommy isn’t crazy about me working too much with the weights. He fusses and says that my body will get too hard because I’m already pretty lean and muscular for a girl from running track and speed skating. I don’t think that having a hard body is such a bad thing myself. I’ve got a lifetime to go soft.

Speaking of hard bodies, which I shouldn’t be, but since it’s just us I can say this, I like a guy with some muscles on his frame. Not all muscle bound like Charles Atlas or anything, but just with a good build, nice thighs and a tight-bounce-a-quarter-off-it butt. I wouldn’t tell anyone this out loud for anything, but that Tommy is one built boy. He stands over six feet tall and he can wrap one whole arm around my waist. He’s a wrestler and I go to his matches mostly just because he looks so good out there with those muscles flexing and all. He’s the school star in that sport, so he’s really quite good. I like it that he can handle himself physically. I don’t like wimpy men.

I think I’m leaning toward big dudes when it comes to my taste in guys. I’m noticing that when a boy does catch my eye, he’s usually very tall and built. I’m tall myself, so it’s probably natural that I like tall guys. My friend Charmaine calls the type of guys I like “thick”. She’s an aspiring writer, and has a flair for applying adjectives in an unusual fashion, but accurately just the same. I’m not physically attracted to thin guys at all. Tommy used to be thin, and I’ve always thought he was cute, but I really started paying attention to him when he started to bulk up in the latter part of last year. Just like I do with a good steak, I rather prefer a ‘thicker cut’ in a man.

Philly called me and said that Juan Carlos and Ramon stopped by her house before driving back to Anaheim. She said Juan told her that Wesley didn’t stay in the guest house with them last night, and that he had been a little rude to them after they got back from the party. How are you going to invite somebody to your house, leave them at a party that you drove them to, and then ignore them once they manage to hitch a ride back to your house?

She wanted to know if I knew what his problem was. She said that Juan and the guys thought it was me. I didn’t elaborate. I just said that I didn’t know, which really I don’t. As far as I was concerned it was over when I told him not to press me. How he took it, I don’t know, so I won’t speculate as to why he was acting like that toward the other guys. The more I think about it, the more I know that I need to put Wes on hold. He’s making me fidgety and I’m not the nervous type too much at all.

Wesley left the party abruptly after I told him, in a roundabout way, to stop pressing me. He was mad that the other guys didn’t want to leave with him, so he told them to get back to his house the best way they could and stormed off. I think Marnie hooked it up for them to stay and get back with some other friends of ours. I was a little disappointed that Wesley felt that way, but c’est la vie!

Marnie wanted to rake him, but I cut her off. I wasn’t mad at Wes. I was just, like I said, disappointed. But it took the pressure off me when he did leave.

Juan and Philly seem to have hit it off. He’ll be back next summer when his father’s team plays my father’s team at the polo grounds here. They say they’ll keep in touch until then. With email it’s so much easier to do that and long distance friendships can be maintained. That’s how Marnie and Beau keep up with each other. Marnie, Juan, Ramon, Ollie and Beau stopped by here for a minute a little while ago. They had all been to dinner. They called earlier and asked me to go, but I didn’t feel like it. Wesley didn’t go with them either.

Ollie, Beau, and Wesley have a flight out tonight to go back to school. Juan and Ramon will start back after they pick their car up at Wesley’s. It was so good to see all of them. Ollie pulled me to the side and told me that he likes how I handle myself and to keep doing things just like I do them. He wouldn’t elaborate when I asked him what he was talking about. He just said for me to remember what he said.

That Marnie has no qualms about getting into a car full of boys and going places with them. Even though she’s little, she can hang with the best of them. They probably all sprung for her dinner and she didn’t have to give up a quarter. That’s my girl, and that’s how she operates. If she can get a guy to come out of his pocket for something, she’ll use his money in a heartbeat.

I probably wouldn’t have any qualms either about riding with the guys. I know I can hang, but that’s the kind of thing that my father makes a big stink over, and my mother says doesn’t really look nice. Marnie’s father doesn’t live with her and her mother isn’t looking hard enough to know what looks nice and what doesn’t. My mother scrutinizes everything. She’s not strict about me and boys in general, and that probably wouldn’t bother her as much as it would my Daddy, but she does insist that I conduct myself like a lady when I’m with them. She says that how you act determines the kind of reactions you get from boys and from people in general.

Since I’m on that topic, I want to talk about Tommy’s grandmother.

Tommy’s mother and his grandmother stayed until the end of the party. That was part of setting my parents up on the trip. In order for them to go along with everything, I knew that they would have to have the reassurance that as many responsible people as possible would be here to see my party to its end. All the principal players were on the video that Mr. Frieson and Uncle Marcus played for them once we lured Daddy and my mother down to the conference room at Hart just so that they could see who all was in on it. Tommy’s mother is one of my father’s senior accountants, and he trusts her totally. Both my parents seem to really like Ms. Fee, Tommy’s grandmother who we also had show up on the video bandwagon. She plays cards brutally and drinks cognac exclusively, which automatically makes her Daddy’s kind of people- and mine.

Ms. Fee called me over to her last night after everybody was gone from the party. She had come outside to find me because she said she wanted to talk to me. We sat at one of the tables and she told me that she sees and know things that other people don’t. That was a little eerie. Then she told me that she had come to like and respect me. I’m guessing that she was trying to tell me that she could see some things in me that she liked. I felt good about that. Then she said that I shouldn’t let boys talk me into anything and that I shouldn’t cave in to peer pressure over the choices I make about boys.

I don’t know where she was coming from with that statement, or what she might have seen to make her go there. I can only surmise that she was sensing the pressure I was feeling from Wesley. Ms. Fee said that she had some concerns about me and that she had discussed them with my mother. But my mother hasn’t said anything to me about anything they might have talked about. Wesley’s parents were here last night too, and I’m wondering if Mrs. Singleton said something to Ms. Fee about Wesley and me, and Ms. Fee was picking up on something from that conversation. Mrs. Singleton makes no secret of the fact that one day she would like for her son and I to be together.

The talk I had with Ms. Fee was strange to say the least about it, but I like stuff like that. It’s intriguing to me when things happen that leave me thinking them over for a while. She said that I shouldn’t even let Tommy talk me into doing anything that I didn’t want to do. I don’t believe that he would even want to or try do that. I think he and I respect each other too much and know each other too well for that. I don’t think he would try that unless it was over something that was for my own good, which he has already done successfully a few times.

But then again, he did steal that kiss from me in the pantry last night.

He was just fooling around though. Tommy and I aren’t like that.

However, it did feel pretty good though, even though I would never in a million years let on to him- or anybody else for that matter.

Tommy is special. He’s funny and talented, and I like it that he’s a watcher. Tommy sees everything even though he may not say anything right away. He’s quiet, but he says a lot in other ways if you know how to read him. A lot of the girls think he’s sexy. He is cute, especially when he smiles, and he has very nice eyes. But I don’t really know exactly what it is about him that makes him click with me like he does. It’s not just how he looks, he just always has clicked with me. I know what he likes. He knows what I like. There’s no pressure to be or do anything. I just know that I’m always comfortable with him, and I like having him for a friend.

I don’t know what Ms. Fee was talking about, specifically, but I’ll keep my eyes open just the same.

I might be back later. Most likely I will be. I feel like I’m not quite finished.

May 3

10:59 P.M.

Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill got back just a little while ago from ‘dinner’. That must have been a mighty big meal if it took them that long to eat it. They brought me back a big slice of cheesecake with strawberries on the side. I love that! It was too late to eat it tonight, so I saved it for after school tomorrow.

I thought my mother might go against my directions and call me tonight, but she didn’t. I’m glad that she’s having a good enough time to not think about me, but in a way I wish she had. I miss her a little. For some reason I’m not inclined to be on the phone tonight even though I could talk to my heart’s content like I did last night with no interruptions. I guess I’m still sort of tired. Besides I’ve already talked to the major players at least once earlier today.

I got quite a few monetary gifts for my birthday, and Uncle Bill will deposit it all for me tomorrow while I’m at school. The money I won playing cards before I got caught by Aunt Pat and after, when I moved the game to another location in the yard, I’ll use as spending money for a while- a good while. I had a pretty good run last night. I usually do when I play for actual money.

I got a lot of other gifts too. I don’t know where I’m going to put everything. There isn’t room in here for all my stuff so I have to store some of it in the third guest bedroom which my mother has let me turn into a sort of sitting room for my guests. It’s the smaller room right next to mine. My bathroom is in between the two rooms, so Daddy had a door put in the guest room to Jack and Jill the two rooms, so now I have a suite. She took the regular bedroom furniture out and let me fix it up like I wanted. I put a daybed in there along with some good chairs for sitting, a television and media system. She said that if my stuff started to flow out of that room like it was flowing out of my bedroom, then it would be time for me to seek other lodgings.

All my stuffed animals are in there, including the huge stuffed lion Daddy got me at FAO Swartz when I was four. He’s about five feet tall, nearly as long and he’s beautiful. I remember my mother freaking out when it was delivered. Daddy was on a business trip in Chicago and he had it sent to me while he was still there. It took two men to get him into my room. He really caught it from her when he got home, but he had brought her some diamond earrings to shut her up. They did.

My lion’s name is Max. I remember how good it felt when Daddy said that he liked that I named him that. I thought he would.

I used to take naps on Max when I was little and he was kept in my room. Now I have too much stuff to keep him in here, but I refuse to part with him. I’m keeping him for my own kids. Sometimes I go in the other room and lay on him when I’m studying or listening to my CD’s through the headphones.

I built the speakers for that media system myself and Tommy made the cabinets to house the mechanisms. Daddy says that we did a good job with the sound as well as the look. After Deon heard the way they sounded, he put his order in for me to make a set for him. He’s into music too. I told him I would work on them this summer but I don’t know where in his grandmother’s house he thinks he’s going to play them. I only get to play my speakers at full power when my parents are out and Marie is in her room. I asked Daddy to add some sound proofing to her room which happens to be right under that room. She never complains about me and my noise, but I know that I have to get on her nerves. She’s about as old as Daddy, maybe a little older, and I know her ears can’t take all the thumping that I like. He had the floor taken up in my sitting room, and had some soundproofing material put under the floorboards before they were put back. He understands my need to crank it up. I can’t hear it unless it’s all the way up there. I just love music, and I like it loud.

My mother fussed about him taking up the floor like that, talking about wouldn’t it just be easier to tell J.J. to turn the music down? He didn’t even answer her. He knew what was up. My Daddy understands me and my needs.

During the party, I got called in by my mother when Dre played, “Back That Thang Up”. I should have known better. The lyrics are filthy, but the beat is the bomb. Jennifer Hart deciphered the song and made me come in to her to discuss it. She insisted that it not be played again and that made me mad. It infuriates me sometimes that she is on top of everything like she is. I makes me just work that much harder at trying to outwit her. Doesn’t she know that?

I said something snotty to her, which was a definite mistake. I know that I can’t win when I go there with her like that. A lot of times I think that I’m just thinking something, but I actually say it and then it’s too late. It slipped out last night and she came right back at me with a double-barrel, sawed-off. She asked me how would I like to be sitting in my room instead of at the party. Now, I know how crazy she can be, she’s done that to me before. I got attitudinal with the silly, lame clown performing at one of my parties, and I ended up in my room looking out of the window at my own party.

No way was that happening last night. I broke right on down and I began to appeal to her. Forget that, I started to downright beg. There were no witnesses, there were just the two of us in the kitchen, so I didn’t feel all that bad about having to do that. It wasn’t about dignity. I gave that up willingly. In the end I got to go back out to the party even if I did have to acknowledge her superior position at the moment and submit myself most humbly to it.

Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I was thinking some more about Marnie. I had to laugh when I thought about how she diverted my mother the day that I bought the body suit to go with my leather pants. I had shown my mother a blue one and she approved it, but I really wanted this other one that was the same color, but a whole lot skimpier with a built in bra. I told Marnie to distract her while I made the switch.

I put the suit I want on my arm, but stick it under the one I showed my mother and I go up to pay for it. Marnie comes up behind me holding up this crotch-less black, see thru lace teddy like she’s going to pay for it. My mother was over to the side looking at something else while she was waiting for me to get finished paying.

Marnie announces loud enough for her to hear, “Hey J.J., look what I’m buying !”

My mother looks up, turns white as a sheet, and shoots over there to Marnie and threatens her, talking about, “If you don’t put that back!”

Marnie looks all scared and goes to take it back. While my mother is fussing at her for trying to be “fast and grown”, I pay for my suit. Later, outside the boutique, I had to pay for it again when Marnie went off on me for making her get into trouble like that. I told her that she took it too far using a black teddy with no crotch in it to distract her. That was definitely overkill. She knows that my mother thinks she’s hot in the tail anyway and probably did think that she was really getting it for herself. The crotch-less feature just added fuel to the fire. I told her she should have just used a plain one. The fact that it was a teddy, and a black one at that, would have done it just fine. Marnie always tends to do things to excess.

In the end, once we were alone in my room again, we both wound up on my bed dying of laughter at my mother’s reaction. She was so scandalized. She didn’t speak to either one of us all the way home. Her jaws were too tight. Marnie said that she was scared to look at her in the car on the way home. I’m sure she was.

I ended up getting busted over the bodysuit anyway. My mother knew it wasn’t the same one as soon as she saw it, and she said that she saw me make the switch at the counter. How does she do it? I don’t know why I try with her any more. I always get in trouble when I try sneaking one past her. I don’t know what I was thinking about. Sooner or later, she always manages to find out what I did no matter how slick I think I’ve been in pulling a thing off.. I already know that I’m going to hear about that cigar I was holding when I made that video in Daddy’s office for them. I was just teasing, but watch and see if she doesn’t give me the third degree about if I’m smoking cigars. She occasionally smokes them, and has been doing it for years, but it’s wrong that I even pretend to do it.

Go figure, I keep saying.

Jeez, I hope she doesn’t ask me if I really smoke them. I can’t lie. I don’t do it a lot, but that won’t matter with her. It also won’t help that the one I had in the video was a common Black and Mild. I can just hear her saying that I don’t even have class when I’m doing wrong things. I got it from Uncle Bill. She needs to be glad. It could have been a Camel like I know he smokes on occasion too.

Aunt Pat was in here a while ago talking to me, but I could tell that she wouldn’t be here long. She was distracted, and I don’t blame her a bit. I’m glad that she and Uncle Bill like each other. They’re both single and need somebody. I’m glad they have each other. They can keep each other company until my father and mother get back. I have school and the phone. I won’t be lonely.

I wanted to ask Aunt Pat about her and Uncle Bill so badly, but that would be rude and nosy, so I didn’t. I’m not supposed to know. She’ll tell me when she’s ready, I guess.

But she was here just long enough to ask my businessShe wanted to know why I brought the dozen roses Tommy gave me (eleven since I gave one back to him) up to my room, but left the two dozen red ones that Wesley’s parents brought to me for him in the great room on top of the piano. I kindly explained to her that I prefer yellow roses and that I only brought the one set up to keep my room from looking like a funeral parlor. She got that smile she gets when she thinks she’s on to something. Yeah, right. Whatever.

I’m on to her. That’s all she needs to be concerned about. I wonder what Uncle Bill gave her???? That’s all I have to say on the subject. Case closed.

I wonder how my parents are doing tonight. I hope Daddy is feeling better and that my mother wasn’t too upset with him today. She usually just fusses; she doesn’t stay mad at him. How can she? He’s so cute when he knows he’s been wrong. He can’t stand for her to be upset with him. She’s leads him around by the nose and he loves it. It’s pitiful to watch happen. I’d say that she had it going on if it weren’t my Daddy that she was doing it to.

They’re making several stops as part of their little cruise, so he’ll buy her something pretty to make it up to her, and she’ll let him off the hook. Not that he needed to do that; she would have let him off anyway, but that’s what he’ll do because it makes her happy to get surprises from him.

The weather was wonderful today so they should have had a good cruise. (If they bothered to come up for air, but I’m not supposed to know about that either.)

I wonder if they’re thinking about us at all.

I hope so, but then again, I hope not.

I’m thinking of them, and that’s enough for everybody.

Good night, Daddy. Good Night, Mom.

All my love,
Justine Jennifer aka J.J.
Sweet Sixteen

Goodnight

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