I’m Really Sorry

Hello everyone. I’m really sorry, but as of now, I don’t know how much I’m enjoying writing for the Kellers. Don’t get me wrong, I love Miss Jendae, but I’m really not feeling it anymore. Now, I’m not officially quitting this legacy. Instead, what I’m going to say, is this is no longer my priority. I will still write for this blog when I feel like it, but don’t be expecting posts. If you’d still like to read my work, you can! I’m not done writing completely, that would be crazy! WRITER FOR LIFE, YO!

 

Anyway… Pretend that didn’t just happen. ūüėÄ My top priorities are my baby challenge, and my rainbowcy. You can read my 100 baby challenge here (Paisley Parker’s 100 Baby Challenge) and my rainbowcy here (Shades of a Rainbow) Since I will no longer be posting for the Kellers, I will STILL be posting for both of those.

 

I’m sorry to be quitting, but I hope you stick around to read either of my other blogs! It’s been really nice to write for this legacy, and I wouldn’t take that time back. ^_^

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter Six

So, I’ve never warned about swearing before, but I think I need to this time. There is a lot of swearing scattered throughout this chapter, so I apologize if it offends you.¬†

Graduation came and went in the blink of an eye. Everything changed in the five years since I had moved into the clubhouse with the group: Bridget and Luci broke up and they still wouldn’t tell us why, Oake and Kendra moved into an apartment together, and Terryn and Max got engaged. Christian started coming around less and less and I didn’t understand why, but when Luci started acting weird every time I brought up my blue haired friend, I knew something was up.

“Luci, would you mind explaining what’s going on?” I asked as the two of us sat in my living room. I had moved back in with my father and Logan since I had nowhere else to go and the clubhouse felt too sacred to live in alone.

He shrugged. “I don’t know why you had to call me all the way down here to ask me that. Midge and I broke up, what’s there to explain? We didn’t love each other anymore, that’s all.” His explanation sounded wrong. There was something to his words that I couldn’t identify. What he said was the truth, I knew, but there was something he wasn’t telling me.

“Don’t lie, please. Why do you start acting weird whenever I mention Christian?”

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and took a deep breath. Yeah, something was off. “I gotta go,” he said and leaped from his seat. Bounding for the front door, he shouted, “Bye Jen!” and ran to his car. I shook my head. I was going to get to the bottom of his strange behavior.

I slowly walked to the kitchen where I knew I could satisfy my grumbling tummy.When I made it through our wooden archway, my eyes landed on Logan typing on his laptop at the counter. “Hey,” he said, not looking up from the screen. I grunted in reply as I made my way to the fridge. My little brother wasn’t so little anymore: he was seventeen and wanted as much to do with people as I did. He shut himself in his room most of the time and had little to no friends, at least that I knew of. He was starting to scare me with the things he began doing: drugs, drinking, drag racing. He was going to get himself killed someday if he didn’t start acting sanely.

Our relationship started to crumble, and there was nothing I could do to rebuild it. The simple truth was Logan was nearly an adult and didn’t like me anymore. When it came to our father… well, let’s just say I thought¬†I¬†was terrible to him. I would at least acknowledge my father when he said hello in the morning, but Logan flat out ignored him and stuck his headphones in.

While my relationship with my brother got worse as the days went by, the one with my father got gradually better. Soon we became pretty good friends and I finally had someone to talk to about everything that was going on in my life.

I graduated from a dance academy not far from town and got a job as a teacher at a local ballroom dance school. The things I could control were going great. My only problem was my brother and the situation with Luci and Christian. I suppose I would just have to figure it out as ¬†I went along. In reality, though, that’s what I had been doing all along.

While I was working later that day, my phone vibrated and I pulled it out to see I had a text from Luci:¬†“Jendae, I know it isn’t exactly nice of me to tell you this over text, but I was concerned if I told you face-to-face you’d beat me. The reason I act the way I do when blue top is mentioned is he and Midge are dating now. We broke up so they could be together.”¬†My mouth dropped. Didn’t she hate him? Why were they all of a sudden dating? None of it made any sense whatsoever!

As I was pondering this, the door to the school creaked open and a deep, familiar voice rang out, “We also broke up so I could be with you.” I whipped around and there stood Luci, smiling wide, his eyes sparkling.

“W-what?”

He strode over to me, grabbed both of my hands, and said, “Jendae, I have loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you. You are so funny, beautiful and smart. Your smile is gorgeous and every word that comes out of your mouth makes me grin. When you’re hurt I want to take the pain away and make you feel better. I’d suffer through an eternity of nothing but agony for you. I know this is out of the blue, but I can’t contain it any longer. I love you so much and if you reject me, that’s fine. I just want you to be happy.”

I had known Luci since I was fourteen and never in a million years would I expect him to make that offer. “Luci…” I began, but he cut me off.

“Like I said, I know it’s really sudden, but I started thinking about it and I came to the conclusion that I can’t keep living like this.”

“Like what?”

“Watching you fawn over Christian when I knew there was no chance. Haven’t you ever wondered why I was so protective of you after you escaped? Or why after Pillar tried to do bad things to you I was the one who was the angriest? When I heard that Christian saved you, I hated that boy. He did what¬†I¬†was supposed to do: be there for you. When you told us you were going on a date with that creep, Matthew, I protested and you didn’t even think twice about it. You’ve never wondered why I act the way I do when you’re in danger? I wasn’t even like that when Midge was hurt. It amazes me how oblivious you are to the world around you. You think that nobody cares and everybody wants you to die, but that’s not the truth at all, Jendae. I care about you and I want to watch you live.”

Tears welled up in my eyes, so I reached up and wiped them away. “Luci, I–I don’t even know how to react to this. Just two minutes ago you were one of my best friends and now you are in love with me?” It truly didn’t make sense to me. “I don’t know what to say.”

He stood up, wrapped his left arm around my back and used his right hand to grab my wrist. He kept me grounded where I was and leaned in to plant a kiss on my lips. “Think about it,” he said, turned on his heel and walked out.

I stood where I was, completely shocked, staring at the door he had left through. Did that really just happen, or was I dreaming it? There was so much I didn’t understand, but one thing was for sure: Luci was untouchable. He loved me for reasons I didn’t understand. Who could love¬†me? I was a hopeless mess with nothing to my name. I lived with my father and little brother. Why in the hell did he love me?

I politely rejected him after a few weeks of thinking. There were more immediate things at hand: Terryn and Max eloped and were expecting twin girls. I loved to go over to their apartment and feel her stomach as four little legs kicked mercilessly. I wanted to know what it was like to carry a baby inside of me, but I knew that would never happen. Although I had gained a lot of my confidence back over the years, I still didn’t think I would be loved. The only person that I thought would ever fall for me was all of a sudden in love with one of my best friends, which I didn’t mind. More power to him! It’s not easy to express your love, is it?

Luci expressed his love to me and what did I do? I rejected him. I told this to Terryn and her mouth dropped. “What?” she demanded, bouncing up out of her chair. “Say what now? Luci is in love with you?” She clutched onto her large stomach and leaned forward, clearly either needing to pee or felt a kick from one of her daughters.

I shrugged. “Yeah, I know. Did you get that text from him to meet here? He said he needed to talk to us.”

She nodded. “I wonder what it could be. Honestly, he’s already confessed his undying love to you. What else is there to say?”

I threw a pillow at her, causing her to duck and fall back onto the couch next to me. A half hour passed and soon Bridget, Christian, Luci, Max, Artemis, Kendra and Oake were sitting in the same living room as us. “So,” Luci said, taking to the center of the room and standing like he owned the world. “I’m moving to France.”

Half of the room choked on their own breath while the other half sat in shock, staring at our friend. The first to speak was Max. “What?” was the only thing he could manage to get out. “What did you just say?”

Bridget gave him a sad look, tears welling up in her eyes. Even though she was happy with her new boyfriend, someone she once hated, I could tell, as could everyone else, that she hadn’t completely moved on. Something inside of me clicked and suddenly I couldn’t let him leave. “No,” I muttered. Everybody turned their attention to me, staring intently. Luci looked the most confused, and I assumed I knew why. “I don’t really understand my feelings for you Luci, but you can’t leave. Not yet. Please.” Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be pleading for a man to stay behind… for¬†me. But I guess I was full of surprises, huh?

“I’m sorry Jendae, but you’ve already told me no. It’s okay. Really, I’m fine. Don’t pretend just to make me happy. There’s no reason to do that.”

That was the last thing that Luci Angel said to me. As I sat at my window, watching the rain fall down the window, I didn’t feel complete. He just… left. No warning, no goodbye. No nothing. Oake called us all to let us know that, with a note on his sheet-less bed, Luci had gotten on a plane and moved to Paris. Never again would I hear his perverted jokes or see his mysterious smile. It wasn’t love I felt, was it? Because that was just ridiculous! No. No love.

Two more years passed, and with a nineteen year old Logan out on his own, there was a new emptiness. I continued on, living in my own apartment and becoming one of the preferred teachers at the dance school. I was twenty two years old now, and with Logan no longer doing drugs, drinking, and drag racing, I was left in peace.

Almost.

As previously said, there was something still not right, but I didn’t let it show when I went to visit Max and Terryn’s daughters, Lila and Lily. They were adorable little toddlers who, for some reason, loved their aunt Jendae. While Bridget and Christian got married, ¬†Kendra and Oake got engaged. I was the only one who was still single because even Artemis had a boyfriend. When had life become so bland? So meaningless? It was a different feeling from when I felt depressed and useless. This time around, I felt alone.¬†Really¬†alone.

“It’s a coward’s way to get out of things. Luci wanted people to believe that he was strong, but when it comes down to it, the bastard is afraid. When the woman he loved wouldn’t tell him she wanted him, he ran away. There’s just something not right with that picture.”¬†Oake was a man of few words, but even though he was his best friend, Luci had angered him. He had missed out on his friends lives. On¬†my¬†life, because he wanted to go and live in the big city of Paris. Eventually, with him gone, everybody developed a sort of hatred towards him. Of course, he would always be apart of our family, but as we grew apart and found love and children around every corner, he grew harder to love.

With every member of the group now married, aside from Arty and I, I took to dating. No man ever felt right, so I denied second date offers every time. To get my mind off of my failing love life, I spent more and more time with Logan. He had a girlfriend, a blue haired woman named Cory. She was a very outgoing girl who far exceeded my love of life. They planned to get married someday, but they did want to take it as slow as possible. Even my baby brother found love before I did.

On the nine year anniversary of my mother’s death, my father grew very weak and was rushed to the hospital. Logan was worried he wasn’t going to make it through the night, but I had hope. A small amount of that rare thing called hope was stripped away from me as my father grew worse and worse. After nearly a month of lying in his hospital bed, he beckoned me from the hall where I stood, talking to Logan.

“Yes Daddy?” I asked, taking a seat ¬†next to him. He took my hand and sighed, a tear streaming down his face.

“Jendae,” he gasped, barely holding on. “I love you, okay? And I want you to know that love isn’t something to be toyed with. That man loves you and being rejected by you drove him to leave his hometown and the other people that he calls his family. You see, nobody does that unless they’re truly hurting. When your mother fell in love with that Jonah, I bit my tongue but really I wanted to punt his sorry ass across the country. It drove me to leave for a while, and when I finally got over it, my darling Aphton was engaged to Noah.

“There was a time where I thought you might “end up” with Christian and start a family with him. But I know now who it will be, even though you seem quite oblivious to it.” He took in a deep breath and gave me a small smile. “I love you and your brother with all of my heart. I’ve held on this long because it’s not fair for you to lose both of your parents in what is really a short amount of time. But honestly, I’m sick of living. I go through the day with a hole in my heart too big to fill. I’ve moved on as much as I can from losing my wife, but now, it’s time to finally hold her in my arms again.”

His words really cut me deep and had me breathless. “Daddy…” I muttered, squeezing his hand.

“I love you, don’t forget that.”

That was the last day I heard my father speak those words to me. As I cleared out our house, tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that the life my mother built really was gone now. Her car was sold, her house was sold, and she no longer graced the world with her smile and determination. I wanted to keep her house around, but Logan wanted to sell it, and Dad wouldn’t have wanted us to keep such a “burden” anyway.

I had lived through hell, but the only thing that really made me question life was when we laid my father into the ground. I knew it had to happen someday, but why did both of my parents have to die so early in life? It was so sudden and unexpected, and the fact that he missed his only son get married angered me.

As I stood still in time, my friends were quickly moving on with life: Kendra and Oake had moved, as did Bridget and Christian and Arty moved in with her boyfriend three hours away from where I lived. The only ones still left in our little family were Terryn and Max and their daughters.

“Shit happens,” Logan told me as we towered over our parents graves. “You of all people should know that moving on isn’t easy, but it can be done. You’re my example and I know if you can get through what you went through, then so can I. Don’t give up, okay?” He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and I knew he was right.

I no longer kept in contact with my friends. There are just some things that you need to let go, and unfortunately, Bridget and Christian, Kendra and Oake, Arty, and Luci were what I left behind. As Lila and Lily got older, Terryn and Max grew apart from the others, too, which made me feel less guilty.

Overall, however blunt this may seem, my life sucks. Really, it does. But the fact that I was still standing, watching Terryn progress through her second pregnancy, means something, doesn’t it?

Things got screwed up there for a while, I’ll admit. But I was willing to move on. Logan and Cory moved across town, so I never lost contact with him.

Dramatic right? I’m not going to lie, I feel like a whiny child. I know other people suffer through worse than I ever have, and some kids never had parents to begin with. I honestly just feel like a piece of nothing. My mother started this legacy that I feel I carried on terribly. Why would she ever put her trust in me? Logan would’ve been the better choice, really.

On my twenty third birthday, I sat in my apartment, all alone, shoving spoonfuls of ice cream down my throat. “Yippee for another year lived, Keller,” I slurred, holding up the bottle of wine that I had been throwing back. As my vision became blurry and my words became incomprehensible, something in me woke up and for once, for some reason, I felt happy.

As I waited in the waiting room for Terryn to finish giving birth to her son, Conner, I knew it was pointless to sit around and do nothing. I bought a round trip plane ticket to Paris and began my journey to France. The closer I got to my destination, the more anxious I got. What in the hell was I doing? I wasn’t this type of person! I didn’t just hop onto a plane and leave the country! But, as we landed, I knew I was doing something right for once.

Looking up his address on my phone, I hailed a taxi and was driven to his house. When the man I desired wasn’t at his place of residence, I began wandering aimlessly around the city. Stopping several times to get a glimpse at the Eiffel Tower, I soon became aware that no matter how hard I believed I’d see him, Paris was a big city, and I knew my trip was pointless.

As I lost all hope, I found my way to a park and slunk down the trunk of a tree. Shaking my head, I prepared myself for a night of complete depression. Rain started to beat down on me hard, and I shut my eyes, waiting for somebody to ask what I was doing. I began to sing the lullaby that my mother would sing to me every night as I fell asleep, and immediate warmth took over my shaking body. “You are my sunshine,” I sang quietly. “My only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.”

I swayed back and forth, ruffling the green grass.

“You never know dear!” I shouted out into the empty lot. “How much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshine away!” I sounded like a dying cow as I screamed out the words to my favorite song, but I didn’t care. It made me feel at peace, and peace was something I had lost completely over the years. “Why do you hate me!?” I screeched, clutching onto my knees and rocking back and forth. “Why am I the one that is forced to go through this!? Why can’t I just be happy!? Why am I even here!?” Loud, ugly sobs escaped past my lips as tears fell in bullets down my face.

Footsteps neared me, but I didn’t look up. If it was a rapist, just add him to the list of creeps, right?

I sniffled and yelled, “Why do I push away everybody that I love? Why am I such a damn idiot?” The rain began pouring out of the sky and I was soon sopping wet.

“Jendae Keller,” boomed an all too familiar voice. “I never thought I’d see you here.” I peeked my eyes open to reveal him watching me with a smirk plastered to his face.

It was him. The man I came to France looking for. Luci Angel.

Okay, sorry to disturb your train of thought, but there is something that I need to make clear: I realize that most of Jendae’s generation has been quite sad, but starting next chapter, things get a whole lot different for her. I can promise you that! So worry not! Jendae will have a smile on her face for quite a bit of the next post.¬†

By Annie Shanks

Mah New Blog

So, I have started a new blog called Shades of a Rainbow (a rainbowcy) I’d love it if you’d check it out! You can read it here! Also, if you head over there, it would make my day if you left a comment!

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter Five

After eighth period, Christian walked me home. I invited him to stay while I got ready to go to the beach with my friends, and surprisingly, he accepted. He sat on the couch, being questioned by my father. It actually made me giggle. By the time I was finished putting on my swim suit, my father had come to realize that Christian was¬†not¬†his father. Christian was Christian and he’d never do anything to hurt me. I know I had just met him, but already we were really good friends. I could already talk to him about anything that was on my mind and he never judged me no matter how ridiculous I sounded.

When I was finished, he offered to walk me to the beach. “Actually, the group is coming to pick me up,” I said with a smile. “So you can go now if you’d like.” He nodded and left out the front door. Soon, Luci and the others pulled up in his truck and we headed off to our sandy paradise. When we got there, I pulled off my clothes to reveal my black bikini. Terryn had a similar one, although instead of completely midnight, it was pink skulls. Arty hopped out of the car wearing a simple yellow one piece while Ken and Midge showed they wore the exact same one as each other.

“You say anything,” Midge growled, “you die. This was an accident.” I giggled and closed my mouth to stop myself from being snarky. First, we went to the sprinkler then took a tan break. Luci and Oake sat to the side talking about whatever it was they talked about. Eventually, I decided it would probably be best to tell them the events of the previous night. Everyone, especially Luci, was very angry. He had to clench his fist and I could tell he was biting his tongue to keep from yelling. I didn’t yet mention Christian, though. I wanted to ask if he could join our group but I knew Luci would never approve.

After we were done tanning, I walked over to him and begged him to let Christian come. He stood his ground for a while but after a lot of pestering on my part, he let me invite him. I texted my fast friend and soon he was at the beach, swimming in the ocean with us. Christian was immediately smooth talking the girls in the group and Terryn instantly fell in love with him. “He’s a keeper,” she whispered to me as she walked by.

“It’s not like that,” I replied. “He’s just my friend.”

She giggled. “You say that now. Wait till he pulls out the big guns.”

“WHAT?”

She started laughing. “I MEAN HIS CHARM.”

After he had Terryn fawning over him, he moved to Arty. She seemed to like him almost immediately, too, so he didn’t spend much time talking to her. Kendra didn’t take long, either, but Bridget kept insulting him and telling him to get away from her. Christian approached me and asked what he was doing wrong. “Nothing,” I sighed. “Midge just… doesn’t trust many people. The other three were cake walks compared to her. On another note, why are you doing this?”

He shrugged. “Doing what?”

“Charming my friends.”

He chuckled. “If that’s what you want to call it, then fine. I just really like you and know if I want to try and be in your life as more than just a ballroom dance partner that I’m going to have to get along with the people you care about. Midge isn’t working too well.”

“Not that I approve of your methods because I can tell you were a huge flirt in a past life, but how are you going to get Luci and Oake to like you? The way you work is clearly only meant for women. Last time I checked Oake and Luci aren’t girls, unless they’re hiding something from me. In which case I need to have a word with them.”

“I have my ways,” he said as he turned on his foot and headed towards the two boys talking under an umbrella.

Midge soon stomped over to me. “Get rid of him.”

I raised my eye brow. “What?”

“I don’t like Christian. He seems shady.”

I laughed. “What is he going to do? Flirt you to death?”

She glared at me and walked off. Terryn jumped on my back, causing me to stumble forward. “What was that?” I demanded, still trying to catch my balance.

“Don’t mind her. She’ll realize he isn’t too bad eventually, especially when she notices how happy he makes you.”

“Who ever said he’s going to make me happy?”

She sighed and said, “He already has. I can see a difference and you’ve known him a day.” She jumped off of me and ran towards Kendra playing in the sprinkler.

I didn’t… feel different. Why did she think there was a difference? I brushed it aside and zeroed in on Luci, Oake and Christian’s conversation. They kept their voices low the entire time, so I didn’t pick up most of what they said, but near the end of the night Christian was good friends with everyone. Except Midge.

She still hated him, for reasons I didn’t understand. “I can already tell he’s a self centered play boy,” she claimed as we piled into the car.

“If he’s¬†a play boy, what does that make Luci…?” Terryn wondered aloud, earning a look from Luci himself. Kendra slapped her gently, indicating to stop. She obeyed and the drive back to my house was silent. Terryn and I jumped out of the car as soon as it came to a halt and ran inside our broken home. Well,¬†I¬†considered it to be broken.

Laura and my father had been fighting ever since they got together, which had been nearly a year. I honestly didn’t understand why he hadn’t broken up with her yet. “I love her,” he said. If that’s what love is, I’m staying single forever.

The next day after school, I invited Christian to practice ballroom with me. He accepted and was soon sitting on my couch. A few minutes of awkward silence went by before he said, “Shall we get to it?”

“To… it?” Why did that sound so wrong in my mind?

He smiled. “Practice.” I laughed at my own stupidity and began our routine. He moved so gracefully and whenever I’d fall he’d catch me and pull me back up. His touch didn’t give me shivers and goosebumps like most men did, but it made me feel warm and comfortable. When we finished, I ushered him out of the house.

I ran up to my room, pulled out my laptop and to my great fortune every member of the group was online.

Jendae Keller: Hey guys! I have a problem. Again.

Terryn Granger: what’s up?

Jendae Keller: Dad and replacement mother are fighting all the time and he refuses to break up with her.

Bridget Everard: Well, I had an idea a while back but wasn’t sure if I should ask.

Jendae Keller: Please tell me it’s “kill the replacement and throw her in a ditch.”

Kendra Fowl: Gosh Jen, you have some problems we need to discuss?

Jendae Keller: Shut up. What’s your idea Midge?

Artemis Everard: Her idea is we should move in together. All of us. 

Bridget Everard: Thanks, but I could’ve said that myself.

Artemis Everard: You could have, but you didn’t.¬†

Bridget Everard: -_- ANYWAY. It will get you away from all that fighting and also give you a chance to sorta start over in a way. 

Luci Angel: That may be true Midget, but won’t we get sick of each other?¬†

Jendae Keller: IGNORE LUCI EVERYONE. I think we should do it! Who’s in?¬†

After a few hours of arranging our living situation, we decided we’d move into the clubhouse that Ken already lived in. We used it to sleep in sometimes when we got sick of our families, but it had never crossed my mind to move into it together. When I told my father, he about exploded. He went on about how “I’m too young” and “I shouldn’t live with so many boys.” He sat me down and looked at me for a minute. “Will this make you happy?” he asked.

I nodded. “Very much.”

“Why else do you want to leave us?”

“I think it would help me move on. Moving away from the house that so much pain is associated with could be good for me.”

“I want what’s best for you,” he sighed. “So, I give you permission.”

I hugged him, ran upstairs and began to pack.

I could hear Terryn doing the same in the next room over. She kept falling over and screaming, “Ow!” She did this until I got fed up with the loud bangs and helped her instead.

“Move aside,” I ordered as I put some things into some boxes. “You’re going to duct tape your head to your butt if I let this go on any longer.”

She sighed and sat on her bed to watch.

The moon rose before we could finish, so we slipped into bed and fell asleep. Our packing would have to wait until after school the next day.

Our usual eight periods went by slower than usual, probably due to the fact that we were excited to get going on moving. Christian offered to help me, and I reluctantly accepted. I didn’t like being¬†dependent on others, but Terryn was giving me the most pathetic look as we talked, so I caved. He walked me home from the school grounds and followed me up to my room as my father watched him like a hawk.

“This is ridiculous,” I muttered under my breath as Dad questioned Christian about the most random things. Like his GPA level and if he could cook. “DAD!” I yelled as his questions became too much to handle. “Get out of my damn room!” The look of shock on his face was enough to make me take a step back. I swear he wanted to cry, but he really did deserve it. I had never sworn at him before, so obviously he wasn’t expecting something like that from me.

Box after box was filled and sealed, labeled and moved to the truck that Christian’s father had loaned to us for moving day. We were finally ready to head to our clubhouse where there would be no more fighting or little brother’s trying to get your attention. No fathers telling you that you need professional help, and if I was lucky, no dead mothers coming into my dreams. I loved seeing her when I slept, but it wasn’t helping me move on.

“MY PEOPLE,” Terryn exclaimed, pulling herself onto Luci’s truck. He glared at her but said nothing. “WE ARE GATHERED HERE TODAY TO CELEBRATE THE UNION OF THESE BOXES WITH THIS FOUNDATION–”

“Terryn?” Midge asked sweetly. Terry looked at her curiously. “Shut up, okay?” Everyone laughed and we began to unload. Terr looked slightly defeated, but continued on anyway.

Finally, the moon replaced the sun in the sky, giving us relief from some of the heat that weighed on our shoulders. I wiped my sweaty forehead as I picked up the last box from Christian’s truck. “For the love of all that is good on this earth, please tell me this is the last box,” I moaned as I set it down.

“It is,” Luci sighed as he collapsed onto the couch.

Terryn wrapped her arms around my waist. “My love, I am going to bed.”

I rolled my eyes. “That’s nice…” She kissed my cheek for reasons I still don’t understand and bounded up the steps.

“What. The. Hell,” Luci asked as Ken cleaned up the kitchen quickly.

“What makes you think¬†I¬†know?” I demanded. I followed Terryn up the stairs and into our new room. The carpet was black and pink puzzle pieces and the wall was white. In the corner there was a black bunk bed, perfect for us.

“YAY!” Terryn exclaimed, twirling around. “We have our bunk beds back!”

I giggled and we settled into our bunks, talking about random things of no real importance to either of us. I hadn’t been able to talk about things stored deep within me with her like I used to. Topics such as math and ballroom were our choice conversations. I didn’t trust anyone with my feelings. I knew Terryn would never abuse what I said, but I was still reluctant. My heart had seen too much pain, and my brain couldn’t protect it anymore.

I was hardened. There was no denying it.

But as time went on, I realized that Terryn was right. Christian changed me. My broken heart mended slowly. The tears I shed dried. I got my filter back. People liked me again. I was happy.

Of course, there will always be a part of me that died that will never come back, but I no longer had to force a smile or fake a laugh. I could talk to my friends about things that were bothering me. Overall, I was the old Jendae.

I was finally moving on.

Christian and I became better and better friends until sometimes we would talk for hours on end about anything and everything. A burning sensation started in the pit of my stomach and I couldn’t control my smile when I was around him. He made me laugh without even trying and ¬†I trusted him with my life.

Christian Herin was my lifeline. He was my knight in shining armor. He was a clown, a flirt, a hero. He loved me with all of his heart, and I loved him with all of mine. We spent every waking moment with each other, whether it was talking on the phone, texting, facebook chatting, or being in each other’s actual presence, we were there for each other.

Christian loved me for me, no strings attached. He didn’t love me in a romantic way, but like a brother or a best friend instead. ¬†He didn’t expect me to be anyone but myself and I loved it. As time went on, I talked to my family less and less. I had a new life and happiness. Terryn, Kendra, Oake, Luci, Bridget, Artemis and Christian were my family now. I came home from school and was greeted by smiling faces. Yeah, we were teenagers and were living on our own, but it didn’t matter. Our families couldn’t complain because they knew what it did to us.

Those seven goof balls were my ultimate source of happiness. I could be a dork around them, I could cry around them, I could laugh around them. There was no longer a weight that constantly weighed down on my shoulders, and I owed it all to them. They wanted to see me succeed in life and gave me pushes on the days I felt like giving up.

On the two year anniversary of my mother’s death, they came with me without question. All seven of the closest people in my life dressed in black and¬†accompanied me to the graveyard.

When we got there, I ran over to her tomb stone and tears streamed down my face the second I read the two words that formed my mother’s name: Aphton Keller.¬†I allowed myself to break down and bawl, clutching onto the stone and sobbing nonsense. “I love you mom!” I cried. “Please come back! I know you’re not dead! You’ve just been on a really long vacation, right? You haven’t actually left me! Mom!” The others stood around me, watching silently. It wasn’t until I was dry heaving that Christian scooped me up and carried me to the car.

“Thank you,” I mumbled. Christian smiled at me and we drove off, leaving behind my dear mother. I regretted the relationship I had with her and wished I could take it back. I wished I wouldn’t have said such horrible things to her and that I would’ve been a daughter she would’ve been proud to call her own.

I went to sleep that night thinking it was the end of the world, but when I awoke, I knew I couldn’t let that slight bump in the road stop me, right? I was going to make it in life! Nobody could stop me! I knew that whatever I did, my mom would be proud of me. This motivated me to keep going and never stop.

The band rehearsed while Christian, Terryn and I danced for them. Ken on the drums, Oake with his keyboard, Midge and her amazing singing voice, and Luci with his guitar. Arty usually sat off to the side, watching our new routines come together as we smoothed out the problems in the lyrics or dance moves.

Of course, we¬†were¬†still teenagers, which meant we still had school. It was going nicely for me and before I knew it I would be walking up the stage and I’d have my diploma in my hand. As of then, that was my only goal. I wanted to get out of that hell hole and then I’d enroll in a dance academy. I wasn’t sure what I wanted after that, but I knew I’d figure it out eventually. What I saw past college was the eight of us still together and figuring it out as we went.

One day, after dinner and homework, the girls and I danced around in the living room. “SOMEBODY TOLD ME ¬†YOU HAD A BOYFRIEND,” Bridget sang.

“THAT LOOKED LIKE A GIRLFRIEND,” I finished. We had the Killers blasting as loud as it would go and we offered our most dorky sides that we had. I jumped from couch to couch as Terryn twisted her body, lowering herself until she was seated on the ground. Our day continued this way until about midnight, then we all hopped into bed.

After school the next day, I visited Christian at his house and came home around six. The smell of something delicious filled the air as I opened the door, and all of a sudden, “DAMN IT!” rang out. I made my way towards the kitchen, where the scream had come. In front of the stove was Luci, wagging his hand back and forth to get rid of smoke.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He looked up and said, “What does it look like? I’m cooking dinner.”

“And why are you screaming profanities?”

“What does it look like? I’m burning dinner.”

I giggled and he glared at me. I slung my arms over his shoulders so my finger tips hung down to his waist. “We should run away together,” I purred into his ear. He jumped back, causing me to fall on my butt.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he demanded. I burst out laughing and he knew it was a joke. “Oh,” he said simply and went back to cooking.

“What’s up with you?” I inquired. “On any other day you would’ve known it was a joke and played along. Maybe even crack a few dirty jokes?”

He sighed. “School’s almost out and the exams are killing me.”

“I know how you feel.” I gave him a hug, which I assumed he probably wanted to kill me for and ran up to my room. There, seated at our shared computer, was Terryn, giggling insanely. From the corner of my eye, I noticed the name “Maxie-Poo” on her screen and knew that she was chatting with my cousin. They were still dating and seemed to be working quite well.

Truthfully, although I’d never admit it to anyone, I was envious of all of my friends. They had such amazing relationships with each other and I had no one. ¬†Of course, I tried not to have those feelings. I still had my whole life ahead of me! I was only fifteen years old! A romantic relationship might have been bad for me when I was so young.

The school year came to a close, allowing the eight of us to lounge around and not worry about class the next morning. We spent most of the summer together in Sunset Valley. Most days we did something together, but we would occasionally take a break and lock ourselves in our rooms, but that was rare.

My bond with Christian thickened and near the end it was like we had known each other our whole lives. We trusted each other with everything and it was a nice feeling that I hadn’t had in a while. Terryn was right: Christian made me happy. He helped me move on, and for that I would forever be in his debt.

Midge was unaffected by him still. Even though he had been around for a while and made the rest of us smile, she still saw reason not to trust him. “He still seems shady,” she claimed.

This caused a rift between the two of us. Soon, all we did was fight. And fight. And fight. The other six got sick of our constant bickering and sat us down. “This is getting ridiculous,” Luci began. When we stared at him, he looked at Oake and said, “Oake, take over now.”

Oake sighed and continued for him. “You two shouldn’t be fighting. Bridget, you can see that Christian makes her happy, can’t you? Why do you not trust him? Because you don’t want her to get hurt? He’s been around for a while now and hasn’t made her anything but happy yet. You’re only angering her, can’t you see?”

Bridget looked at me and strained a smile. “I’m sorry, Jen. I don’t want to fight but I just… don’t like him. There’s something about him that gets my attention. I have a feeling that all of this is going to end badly for you. You’re going to get hurt, whether he knows it or not. I’m doing this to protect you!”

“Protect me?” I exclaimed, jumping up from the couch where I sat. “You have no right to think you protect me! I protect myself!” With that, I ran up the stairs into my room, slammed the door and dove under the covers. That was the start of the longest summer of my life. I stopped talking to Midge and she didn’t make an effort to fix what we had broken. The other six didn’t think it was reasonable, but I didn’t care.

Midge needed to realize that Christian was apart of my life now and there was nothing she could do that would ever change that. I truly needed him in my life and I wouldn’t be the same if he were to leave.

I needed to make her trust him or I would soon find myself making a difficult decision between Midge and Christian, and that was something I could not allow.

By Annie Shanks

A Few Requests

Hello my wonderful readers! I have a few things I’d like to ask of you today! First, one of my best friends is a writer and I wanted to ask you to check out her blog. In fact, Jendae is one of the main characters in her legacy as well! You know the group, right? Jen’s best friends? Her story revolves around them and Jen, much like mine, actually. But it’s told in Midge’s point of view! We all know Midge, right?¬†http://flippedsims.blogspot.com/¬†<– There it is! So if you want to read something great, click that link!
Another thing I wanted to ask you guys to do. My sister is also a writer, and she’s amazing at it! She’s not an author of a sims story, but a book instead.¬†http://www.worthyofpublishing.com/chapter.asp?chapter_ID=66383¬†<– There’s chapter one! Really, if you want something to read, try that out. It’s definitely worth it! She’s really a fantastic writer, one of the best I’ve ever seen, so please, click the link! ūüėÄ

 

Anyway, I believe that was all I wanted to ask you amazing readers. Thank you for sticking around, those of you who have. It means a lot to me. Keep being awesome!

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter Four

“Jen-Jen,”¬†she cooed as she stroked my dark hair.¬†“I know everything seems bad right now, but trust me, it gets better for you.”¬†Her white locks fell down her stomach in a braid that was barely held together. My mother was so young as she talked to me about random things. I had only seen her like this in pictures. My dad would be squealing with delight if he could see her now.

Mom came to visit me sometimes when I was asleep. My¬†psychologist–who my dad forced me to go to–was concerned about me seeing the ghost of my mother, but I didn’t see a problem. I was happy on the days that she came to visit me. Was it a crime to feel joy? I knew everyone thought I was going crazy, but I didn’t care. It was the only time I wasn’t numb.

When I woke up, I pulled myself across my dark blue and black bed. Terryn had taken Logan’s room to give me privacy, and Logan moved upstairs. It was nice, especially because I realized I talked in my sleep. Dad walked in on me dreaming about Mom once, but thankfully he hadn’t heard anything I didn’t need him hearing.

Once I made it across the couple feet of comfortable cotton, I grabbed my phone off of my bedside table and checked for messages. I found the same thing I found every morning: a message from each of my friends asking how I was feeling. Eventually I just stopped replying. I didn’t need to lie and say I was fine when they knew very well I was suffering inside.

There was a slight knock at my door and I groaned. “Who is it?”

The soft voice of my baby brother came through the only thing separating us. “Jendae? Want to eat breakfast with us?”

I smiled slightly and stood up. After stumbling my way over to my door, I opened it and greeted him with the best smile I could fake. “Of course. I’d love to.” I actually didn’t. I never did. But I didn’t want to disappoint Logan because that would make me feel even worse than I already did. I ushered him gently down the stairs and to the kitchen.

“Hey Jen,” Dad greeted warmly as I made my way to the fridge.

“Hi,” I replied coldly as I clutched onto the milk carton. Pouring my cereal into a bowl, I glanced over at my dad and noticed him watching me. “What?” I didn’t like being stared at. It made me feel vulnerable.

He shook his head and went back to eating his cereal. “How’d you sleep?”

“Mom visited me last night.”

Dad sighed, probably wondering what he was going to do with me. Logan perked up and whatever¬†drowsiness¬†he still felt from sleeping was immediately knocked out of him at the mention of our mother. “Did she mention me?” he inquired, setting down his backpack that he had been rummaging through.

I nodded and grinned. “She always does.” I picked up my bowl and sat at the counter with my dad. “She mentioned you, too.”

He looked at me and smiled wearily. “What’d she say?”

“The same thing she always does. She doesn’t like to go into detail about you. The one time she did she started to bawl. I don’t like to see her like that, so I don’t mind.”

“I’m worried about you, Jendae,” he whispered.

Every ounce of rare happiness disappeared. “Don’t be!” I shouted, causing him to jump a little in his seat. “Stop worrying about me! I’m fine!”

Ignoring me–probably knowing whatever he said would make me even angrier–he said, “Laura’s coming over today.”

“Great,” I moaned. “I’ve been wanting to see Mom’s replacement recently! I wanted to know what it feels like to–”

“Stop it!” he interrupted. “She is¬†not¬†replacing your mother!”

“Well it sure feels like she is! You’re not even happy with her! Why bother?” I slammed my bowl into the sink, scooped up my backpack, and ran out the door. Terryn quickly followed with her ridiculous grin she always wore. She didn’t try to speak to me, instead she just walked. Her presence calmed me slightly, allowing me to forget about Laura and concentrate on getting to school.

I walked to my locker and immediately regretted my decision. The head cheerleader and her cronies shoved me, sending me skidding down the hallway. My books went everywhere, and Bridget came storming down the hall as Terryn stood to the side, shocked. “Hey!” ¬†The head cheerleader, Elizabet, and the… other head cheerleader Brittany smirked. “Bitch, you mess with Jendae Keller, you mess with me.” She charged forward as Terryn knelt beside me, asking if I was okay. I nodded and Kendra walked toward us. When she saw my books, she leaned over and scooped them up.

She didn’t have to ask what was going on. Bridget and Elizabet in a fight while I was on the ground with my books thrown everywhere made it obvious what happened. Soon, though, whatever fun Midge may have been having was thrown out the window quickly when our teacher, Ms. Courtney, saw what was going on. “Ms. Everard!” she screeched. “Ms. Eis! Detention and get to the principal’s office! NOW!”

Bridget and Elizabet sulked away, Elizabet giving me a glare and Midge giving me an “I’m sorry” look. After watching them walk away, Ken, Terry and I walked to class. We, against all odds, all ended up in the same science class. “Y’all ready to get science-y!?” Ken exclaimed as we walked through the door. Terr and I giggled and took our places at our labs.

“Good morning class,” Mr. Christen greeted with a smile. “It’s nice to see you all. Please, take your places if you haven’t already and we can get started.”

After seven painfully long periods of randomly picked classes, I finally made it to my favorite class: ballroom. That was the only time I felt joy, other than when my mom came to visit me. My partner was the best in the class, apparently. My teacher assigned him to me because, in his words, “I’m one of the better students and if I’m to go anywhere I need a fine partner.” I didn’t mind being with him until I realized he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.

He barely even acted like I existed, though. There was no way he’d ever date me. I’m just the goth girl that nobody liked.

As I walked out of the school and to the courtyard, the popular jock of the school, Matthew Pillar, approached me. “Hey,” he said, eyeing me up. What a sick perv! If he wasn’t standing before me because one of his stupid friends dared him to, he was doing it because he thought he was going to get laid. “Would you like to go on a date?”

My mouth dropped. “D-date? With…¬†me?” He nodded and I took a step back. “But…¬†why?”

“I think you’re really pretty.” He didn’t seem like he was lying, but there had to be an¬†ulterior motive. If you approached me, you obviously didn’t mind having your head dunked into the toilet like my ever-so-lovely class mates thought was funny. They had “daily head dunkings,” and I had been lucky enough to be forced to participate a few times. The teachers didn’t even know it was going on. When did adults become so… stupid?

“T-thanks,” I stuttered, fiddling with the fabric of my shirt. “Of course I’ll go on a date with you, if you really mean it and it’s not some stupid dare.”

He smiled gently and shifted nervously. “Now why would it be a dare?”

“Nobody likes me,” I stated simply. Surely he knew what I was talking about. I was the main subject of the gossip around my school.

He shrugged. “I like you. So, what do you say? Will you go on a date with me? I promise I’ll make it fun.” For the first time since I had been home, I didn’t see a reason not to trust him. It was a strange feeling, but one I greeted with open arms. After accepting his offer, I started towards home.

Terryn eventually caught up to me and when I told her I had a date she squealed with delight. “Oh this is so exciting!” she exclaimed. “I finally get to dress you up all pretty for a boy!” I smiled slightly and didn’t say a word as she skipped around, talking about all the things she could do to my hair and makeup.

When we got home, Terr made a point to tell Dad that I had my first date. Of course he didn’t think this was good news. He was extremely protective of me since I escaped and didn’t trust anyone, especially boys. Terry convinced him and pulled me upstairs to the bathroom to get me ready.

“I am going to work wonders on you, Keller! This shall be the best day of your life!”

I sighed and pulled myself up onto the counter. “Slow down there, Terryn. I barely even like this douche.”

She raised a pink eyebrow and pulled out some makeup. “Then… why did you agree to this?”

I shrugged. “I thought maybe he could actually make me smile. If not then it was worth a try.” When I said this, I immediately felt terrible. I agreed to this date for my own selfish reasons.

Terryn didn’t seem to mind, though. “Good for you. Put yourself first!”

I giggled, the first time since I had been home that wasn’t forced. “You’re insane. Do you know how terrible I feel?”

She laughed. “Don’t. You need to explore all options of happiness before you rule any out. Which reminds me, Luci wanted me to ask you if you wanted to go to the beach today. We haven’t all been out together for almost two years now. Say yes or I use this on you.” She held up the blush brush and I grinned.

“Alright, fine. I agree, only because I don’t want to be blushed to death.”

About an hour later, Terryn had me ready to go on my first date. The closer the time came where he’d come to pick me up the more nervous I got. I didn’t even like the person I was wasting my first date on! What was wrong with me?

“I don’t think I can do this,” I muttered to Terryn as a sick feeling came over me. “I feel really sick.”

She grabbed my wrist as I tried to walk away. “No!” she exclaimed. “You are doing this whether you like it or not, missy! I spent the better part of an hour getting you ready! You wouldn’t want to waste my talent on nothing, would you?”

“That’s not at all a convincing argument,” I muttered. She gave me a look that I had never received from her and I immediately stopped talking. I guess I was going on this date even though I would rather be at school, being picked on.

“Just think about all the fun you’re going to have tomorrow when we go to the beach! That should get you through this. And you never know, maybe you’ll actually end up liking him?”

I snorted. “That’s doubtful.”

Five minutes later I heard a car door slam outside of our house. I thought maybe I could get out without my dad questioning him, but I was wrong. He came down the stairs wearing a stupid grin.

“Dad,” I groaned as he stepped up to the door. “You don’t have to greet him. He’s most likely not going to spend long in my life.” I knew I was a bad person for accepting this date in the first place, but my feelings towards myself grew worse at the realization that I wasn’t even planning on giving this man a second thought after this date was through.

I shook off all of my bad feelings and greeted Matthew with a smile. “Hello,” I said warmly. “I’m so glad you’re here. This is my father, Owen. Dad, this is Matthew Pillar. Can we go now?” My dad nodded and I turned my attention back to my date.

He grinned and said, “You look gorgeous.” My cheeks started to burn as he grabbed my wrist and led me to his… motorcycle? Oh no no no! This wasn’t going to fly! I could die on that thing! I stopped dead in my tracks as he continued toward his death trap. He turned around when he noticed I wasn’t following and gave me a questioning look. “You okay?”

“M-motorcycle,” I sputtered out. He came back towards me and took my hand in his.

“It’s okay. We can walk.” He led me to the bistro and the waitress seated us outside. After about an hour of mindless chit-chat and stuffing myself with lobster, we made our way to the little alleyway beside the book store. “You know, I’ve never liked a girl as much as you before. You really got my attention.”

I smirked as I leaned against the brick wall. “Right.”

He gave me a sideways, quizzical look. “Huh?”

“Don’t even pretend I didn’t get your attention because of the kidnapping. You probably didn’t even know I existed before I was on the six o’ clock news, did you?”

His grin gave me goosebumps. “I’ll admit, I didn’t know who you were until the incident, but does that really matter? I know who you are¬†now.” He leaned forward, pinning my wrists against the wall. All color quickly faded from my face as he inched closer and closer to my lips.

“W-what are you doing?” I whispered as he sneaked his arm down my waist, causing me to shiver.

“A pretty lady like you shouldn’t call yourself a virgin,” he whispered back into my ear.

I began trembling and reached my hand up to slap him, but was restrained once more as he grabbed my wrist again.

“No, no. That won’t do.” His tone of voice went from being warm and inviting to sending chills up my spine when he spoke.

“Get away from me!” I screamed, as loud as my pitiful lungs would allow. “Please! Somebody help me!” I was rewarded with his palm against my cheek.

“Bitch, shut up,” he hissed.

I scoffed. “If you’re going to rape me, maybe you shouldn’t do it in such a public area.” I was prepared to do anything to get away from him. Distracting him was just my first line of defense.

“I wouldn’t call it¬†that. It sounds so harsh and barbaric when you put it into those terms.” His hand found it’s way closer and closer to my… lower end. I gritted my teeth as I took into account everything that could go wrong. He was a quarterback and I was… me. There was no way I was going to get out of this. He was much bigger than I was and the shopping area was completely dead at that time of night.

“What terms would you put it in, you sick creep? Haven’t I been through enough!?” I shrieked.

“Hey,” a new voice rang out, obviously angered. Matthew whipped his head around to look at the new addition and snarled. He eased up, giving me a chance to examine my possible savior. He had dark blue hair, yellow eyes and cute little freckles across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose.

I mouthed, “help,” and he flared his nose.

“Get. Off. Of. Her,” he growled.

“You’re not the boss of me,” Matthew replied coldly. “You’re Christian Herin, aren’t you?” Blue top nodded and walked forward slowly. Christian grabbed a hold of Matthew’s arm and ripped him away from me as hard as he could. He let go, sending him flying down the asphalt. He groaned as he pushed himself up and Christian charged and grabbed the collar of his shirt.

“You have no right to do that to her,” he hissed, dropping him onto the ground and crashing his foot down as hard as he could onto Matthew’s back. He pulled him back up, set him gently on his feet and balled up his fist. His knuckles made beautifully harsh contact with his face, sending him flying once more. I stifled a laugh as Matthew got up and sprinted away.

“You’re insane!” I heard him scream as his foot steps faded to silence.

Christian watched him run away, probably making sure he wasn’t coming back and made his way over to me. I had slunk down the brick wall, so he knelt down to be at eye level with me. His sunny orbs were so gorgeous, causing me to melt into his eyes. It took me a minute to realize he was talking. “What?” I barely managed to whisper.

“Are you okay?” I nodded slightly and he pulled himself over, seating himself next to me. He pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around me. “There. Did I come in time?” He sounded genuinely concerned. It took me a minute to put two and two together, but as my mind became less foggy, I realized he was my ballroom dance partner.

“Thank you,” I said weakly. He stood up and pulled me after him.

“I’m walking you home. We wouldn’t want Pillar to find you alone, would we?” I shook my head and he grabbed my hand. It was a little weird at first, but as we walked it became more and more comfortable. His hand fit perfectly into mine and I felt secure, like with him next to me nobody would ever be able to take advantage of me again.

“This is it,” I mumbled as we began walking past my house. “You can go now.” He ignored me and followed me to my front door. My hands were trembling so bad I couldn’t fit the keys into the lock. Dad heard and opened it for me, allowing me in. His eyes landed on Christian and when he noticed his blue hair, he slammed the door in his face. “Dad!” I exclaimed.

He glanced over at me and began walking up our spiral staircase. “I can guess what happened tonight. Tell your demon spawn friend I said thanks.”

“D-demon spawn?” I muttered to myself.

As I lay in bed that night, I remembered the story of Noah Herin my mom once told me. He left my mom after cheating on her, getting his girlfriend pregnant. I realized my dad probably didn’t trust Christian because of what his dad did to my mom.¬†That’s not fair,¬†I thought,¬†That was his father, not him.¬†

Eventually I fell asleep, and was greeted with Christian in my dreams.

*~Christian’s Point of View~*

I’m not my father. Why does he judge me based on him? Just because my dad made stupid mistakes in his youth, me being one of them, doesn’t mean that I would do anything like that. Was it not proof enough when I saved his daughter from that idiot, Pillar?

I got to watch Jendae do what she was best at every day in eighth period and I quickly developed a crush on her. I always thought she was so perfect. She didn’t even know it, but I was always watching out for her. When I heard that jerk was going on a date with her, I followed them. I know that sounds really creepy, but it was lucky I did. I heard her scream for help and immediately knew what was going on. Jendae wasn’t the first innocent girl he did that to. There were rumors going around school that he took advantage of his dates, but my classmates refused to believe the girls that claimed it happened. They all loved Pillar too much to think he could do something so terrible.

I was one of the only people who believed it, and I was very grateful I did. I saved Jendae Keller from any more pain than she was already forced to suffer through.

The next day at school, I was putting my books into my locker when someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around and there she was, staring wide eyed at me and smiling beautifully. I grinned and slammed my locker shut. “Hey,” I said simply when she wouldn’t speak.

“Hi.”

For a while we just stood there, staring at each other. “Eighth period,” I said, trying to get rid of the awkward silence that surrounded us. She smiled and nodded. I got on one knee, grabbed her hand and said, “Jendae Keller, will you walk to eighth period with me?”

She giggled and nodded. I got up and took her hand in mine. Thankfully she didn’t pull away as we walked down the hall. “Thank you for helping me last night,” she muttered. “I might be lying in a ditch right now if it weren’t for you.”

I nodded. “Of course. It was my pleasure.”

She looked at me and smiled. For some reason, with her around, I felt as if nothing would ever be the same. And it was a very nice feeling.

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter Three

I’ve noticed my blog has been kind of a downer recently. I promise, it won’t always be like this but for now it is. Again, PLEASE leave some feedback!¬†

His soft lips pulled away gently from my chapped, bleeding pair. “I’m sorry about this,” he said as he raised his hand. I closed my eyes, waiting for the pain that would come from his strike.

The pain never came. I peeked one teal eye open and was surprised to see the door open. My hands were no longer tied behind the chair like they usually were and my feet were free. I slowly sat up and looked around the room.

He was gone.

Was he really letting me go like this? Or was it a mistake?

It couldn’t have been. I was completely free to go. I guess that’s the benefit of pretending to love one of your captors.

Eventually he breaks and lets you go.

I sprinted out the door and down the plain, white hallway but stopped dead in my tracks when I heard someone’s voice yell out. A woman’s voice. There weren’t any women here, usually. Why was today different? “You imbecile!” she screamed. “You’ve been in a romantic relationship with our captive for¬†how long?”

I craned my neck to look around the corner and what I saw was not pleasant to watch: a petite, red haired woman was lecturing my rescuer about loving me. He cowered, slowly getting closer and closer to the only exit that was in the entire shack, I had come to realize as I scanned the area for ways to escape. He looked up from the ground he was focused on and his eyes landed on me. The woman flipped around to see what he was looking at and I ducked back behind the corner.

I breathed out slowly, not wanting to make any sound. Seconds later, there was a gun shot and a painful scream. “Oh no,” I muttered under my breath as the woman’s heels clicked the opposite way.

“Cowell,” another one of my captors barked. I peeked around the corner once more to watch it play out.

“What?” she hissed in reply.

“The girl is gone.”

“How do you know this?”

“I work the cameras and she’s gone. Not in her room, either.”

My mouth dropped at the realization that I needed to get out then or I would be strapped back down and abused further. My eyes set on my only way out. I could make it out the door in a matter of seconds, but they’d see and chase me down. Unless I could run faster?

No. That was doubtful.

What were my options now? Make a run for it and probably get caught once more and punished severely, go back into that room and pretend I was let out to go to the bathroom?

“It was¬†him,” Cowell said dryly as she pointed at the man who I pretended to have feelings for. I didn’t even know his name. What kind of person was I?

A person who wanted to be free.

“Search everywhere. Owen may have gotten to her by now,” she demanded, pulling her long, silky hair into a ponytail and pulling off her heels. “I’ll search the forest.”

This woman, who I assumed was the actual assassin leader, was giving me more information than she knew. A forest?

Bingo. I could lose them if I ran for it.

I grinned and sprinted towards the door. Not wanting to risk it, I didn’t turn to look if they were following me. That was something I wasn’t going to do until I had run for hours.

The more I ran, the faster I breathed. After what I thought to be a few hours, my feet ached badly. That rock looks nice. I could sit on it. No. No stopping, Jendae. 

The farther away I got from that horrible place, the more my feet felt like they may fall off. I hadn’t used them in a year, and I believed them to be bleeding.¬†Dad would be able to fix that,¬†I thought, making my homesickness get even worse.¬†I need home. Soon.¬†

I was to the point of going insane, partly from the pain of running, but mostly from being locked in a small room for more than a year. A year. Were they even looking for me at this point, or did they assume I was dead already?

Sometimes I thought the same. Was I even really alive? Was all of this a dream? Was I going to wake up in my own warm bed while Terryn giggled in the bunk underneath me? Would I go downstairs and Mom and Dad would be kissing while Logan shielded his eyes?

No. That would be too good to be true.

At some point, I broke down and sobbed. The blood that had been drawn from earlier in my torture session began dripping down my face, mixed in with my tears.¬†What are they doing right now?¬†That was the only thing my shaken mind could think of as I ran. It only made it worse, but I couldn’t help it.

The bright sun eventually set below the horizon, giving me some relief from the heat that weighed down on me. I looked back and to my great fortune, no one was following me.

That I could see.

They probably had search parties searching for me everywhere and when I finally emerged from the woods they’d hit me over the head with something hard and drag me back to the shack with a terrible punishment awaiting me. But right then, there was no time to think like that. It would do me no good, would it? I wouldn’t be saved by thinking those thoughts.

With the moon high in the sky, I allowed myself to relax a little.

Not a good idea.

I tripped over a root lying on the ground and went flying down the forest floor. “Oomph!” I squeaked. “Stupid Jen.” Scanning my surroundings, I stood back up and picked up a steady run again. I needed to get as far away as possible, and stopping wouldn’t do that for me. I started wondering what would be waiting for my arrival on the other side of this forest. How close am I, anyway?¬†

As the sun replaced the moon in the sky, I began wondering where I actually was. I could’ve been anywhere. Maybe not even Sunset Valley anymore.

If that was the case, I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Finally, as if in answer to my silent begging, the trees and brush ended, revealing a perfectly civil town. I smiled slightly at the sight of humans. Real,¬†living¬†humans who wanted less to do with me than I did at that point. Something I was beginning to miss. On instinct, I shouted, “Help! Somebody help!” Immediately, someone opened the door to their bakery. The man was in awe at the sight of a young girl, skinny as a stick, blood and sweat soaked with bruises all over, crying for help. He ran down his steps and stopped a few feet away.

“You okay?” he asked dumbly.

“Do¬†I¬†look¬†okay?” I asked through gritted teeth. His sandy blonde hair and hazel eyes almost comforted me with the essence of kindness, but the fact that he appeared to be an idiot set him apart.

He sighed and looked me over. He, himself, looked to be about fifty, with grey hairs woven through his shiny locks. “What’s happened to you?”

“I was kidnapped about a year ago. I was finally able to escape just yesterday, a-a-and I–” My sentence was cut off by a sob escaping past my lips. “I just want my dad!” I yelled. By this point, everyone in that area had gathered around. Without even thinking, I fell into his arms and strangely enough, he wrapped his arms around my waist.

“It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered gently. With the assurance that I was finally okay, that I was finally away from that place, my world went black once more.

**********************************************************************************************************************

“D’ya think she’ll wake up?”¬†The woman who spoke sounded a strange amount like my mother. That was a ridiculous thought. Right? My mom was dead and she was never coming back.

“I think she will. The doctor said no major damage was done to her–physically. Mentally, though, he isn’t so sure,”¬†the baker replied.

What were the odds that I ended up safe? Apparently pretty good. “Darling,”¬†the woman who had spoken earlier whispered into my ear.¬†“What is your name?”

“Jendae Keller.”

I could hear the smile through her next words.¬†“What is your dad’s name?”¬†

“Owen Keller.”

“Where does he live?”

“Sunset Valley, Texas.”

Just moments later, the baker was on the phone.¬†“Hello? Mr. Owen Keller?”¬†A few seconds of silence later, the baker continued,¬†“I believe we’ve found your daughter.”¬†

*~Owen’s Point of View~*

“Dad?” Logan asked as he leaned against the door. “Why are you packing?”

I sighed happily. “I’m goin’ to get your sister, kid.” ¬†His eyes widened and he opened the door. “Where ya goin’?”

“To pack!” he said as he ran off down the hall.

As we were walking out the door, Skye’s voice echoed through my thoughts:¬†“Be sure to tell us when you find her so we can come, too, okay?”¬†

I groaned and walked over to the phone. Artemis answered, and in a shaky voice, I said, “We’ve found her. We’ve found Jendae.”

On the plane on the way to Twinbrook, Ohio, I leaned my head against the window and closed my eyes. I was so close to finally having her in my arms again. Soon she would be safe at home and I could stop worrying.

I had quit spying so something like that didn’t happen to either of my kids again. My former employer assured me he would keep us safe and find whoever did this to her. I still wanted to be able to help people, so I got a job in law enforcement.

The closer we got, the more anxious I was. What would our reunion be like?

Terryn sat at the window, snuggled up with my nephew, Max. They began dating earlier in the year after a lot of badgering from Kendra. Max would whisper things in her ear and she’d giggle.

Monty and Miko, seated across the aisle, would talk to each other and laugh. Everyone was happy about Jen being safe, it was hard not to laugh for no reason at all. Everyone had assumed she was dead, but finding out she was still alive and would soon be back in our lives was an amazing feeling.

Skye and her partner, Ellie, sat across from Arty and Midge. We had reserved a private plane (using my funds from when I was a spy) so everyone would feel comfortable on their way to Twinbrook. It was nice to finally see those two girls so happy.

Luci sat with Oake and Kendra where he could still keep his eye on Midge. I thought it was nice how protective he was of her already.

Finally was Laura. She was so beautiful, and we had been best friends since we were kids. Would it be wrong if I asked her on a date since she was the best friend of my dead wife?¬†Aphton wouldn’t mind,¬†I assured myself,¬†She would want you to be happy. She said that before.¬†

It was a plan. I was going to ask Laura on a date once I had Jendae back safely. She looked over at me from her seat and smiled that perfect smile of hers.

Maybe happiness was in store for me after all.

*~Jendae’s Point of View~*

I awoke to a faint knock on my door. I shifted slightly, not wanting to bother my captors.

Wait.

That wasn’t right. I had been saved. The second I realized this, I jumped up from my soft bed and flung the door open. There he stood, as proud as he had always been, though slightly more worn. My daddy was finally here. “DAD!” I screamed as I jumped into his arms. He stepped back, not expecting the force from my pounce. I blabbered incoherent mush into his ear, and he began to cry. Never before had I seen him cry. Not even when my mom died. This was a new experience that I wasn’t sure I wanted to witness again.

Even though I was sure I was heavier than he could carry, he never set me down. He kissed the top of my head and my face until he was nearly sobbing. He walked through the open door and set me on my bed. Neither of us talked as he looked me up and down. “You’re so skinny,” he muttered. “I’ve missed you so much.” He grabbed me in a hug, almost crushing me, but I didn’t pull away. I never wanted to, but when I heard Logan speak, I knew I had to.

“Jen?” he squeaked. I leaped from the bed and tackled him to the floor.

“Logan!” I hollered, making him laugh. He refused to let go of me, which I didn’t mind. It was so nice to hug him and the best part was, it wasn’t a dream! I was actually standing there, rubbing my hand up and down his back. He kissed my cheek and Dad helped me up.

“If you’re feeling up to it, we were thinking of sending everyone in one by one,” Dad said as he took me in his arms once more. I nodded quickly, not willing to pass up a chance to see everyone I grew sick from missing.

Max was sent in first, and when he was allowed to walk through the door he sprinted in and scooped me up in his arms. Neither of us talked, but we didn’t have to. It was perfect the way it was.

I got to see Uncle Monty, Aunt Miko, Grandma, Laura, Skye and Ellie, but none of that meant as much to me as my meeting with the group. Everyone–even Oake– seemed happy that I was alright. Terryn refused to leave my side the entire time, and Midge wouldn’t stop talking.

What if none of this was actually happening? What if I woke up and I was still in that shack? Dad assured me that wasn’t going to happen when we got onto the plane. He wouldn’t let me out of his sight, even though I wanted some time with everyone else.

As different people walked by to talk to me, I found out that Terryn and Max were dating. “I knew it would happen eventually,” I stated solemnly. Terryn shoved me playfully and Max beckoned her over to their seat.

At some point, I fell asleep on my dad’s shoulder and when I woke up again I was in my bunk bed. I rolled over with a sigh and scanned my room. It was exactly the same as when I had been taken. That brought a smile to my face.

Just being there had been enough to make me happy, but soon I started really thinking about it. What did I have to be happy about?

Everyone celebrated but as I sat there, I didn’t know what there was to be happy about.

Everything will be fine. 

No.

You’ll move on eventually.

No.

You’ll forget what happened.

No.

You’ll be happy again.

No.

No matter how much I wanted to believe these things they told me, I knew they were wrong.

How could everything be fine? My mom was dead and I had a constant ache in my chest.

How could I move on? I was scarred for life. Violated. Why did they insist on lying to me?

How could I forget what happened? I had the same nightmare every night about what he did to me. I still woke up screaming and sweating. My dad would run in and sit with me until I was finally convinced I wasn’t there anymore.

How could I be happy again? The last ounce of happiness was drained from me when I walked down those stairs and saw my mother lying in her own pool of blood and as I was beaten on a daily basis. There was a reason that happened to me, right? Obviously I did something along the line that made me deserve my fate. But I didn’t understand. I truly didn’t.

I couldn’t look at things the same way anymore. The mother with her baby walking to the park made me sick. They didn’t have to fake¬†their¬†happiness.

Men made me feel the worst. Any one of the people in my town could do those things to me a second time. I tried to convince my dad to move towns, but he insisted I was safe. As he began to date Laura, I drew myself farther and farther away from him. I didn’t want him feeling the way I was feeling. He had moved on and I didn’t want to interfere with his decisions.

The only reason I was still there was because of the people I loved. They would be devastated if I took my own life, and I didn’t want to inflict anymore pain on them than they experienced in the last year.

Eventually I grew numb. Things didn’t affect me. I didn’t have a filter, and I taught myself to keep my mouth shut or I’d hurt someone. Sadness didn’t even describe my feelings. In fact, I didn’t¬†have¬†feelings. What would have once made me sad made me question the reason it happened.

When my grandmother died, I didn’t cry like everyone else. No, I sat there and stared into space. My dad started to get worried about me when I told him I didn’t even know what it was like to feel anymore.

I was a bitch unless I kept my mouth shut at school. People began making fun of me and I didn’t even care. Why would their words do anything to me when I knew greater pain and suffering? I turned from my innocent fourteen year old clothing and act to completely goth, and I didn’t care.

I actually felt it summed up what I felt: blackness. I wasn’t the same and as I changed, my friends changed, too.

No, things would never be the same.

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter Two

I know I’ve said this before, but it would be nice if you’d leave feedback so I know how I did. Read on!¬†

*~Jendae’s Point of View~*

His hand making harsh contact with my cheek caused me to scream out in pain. “Oh, I’m sorry, did that hurt?” he hissed. The man who kidnapped me had me tied up to a chair and wouldn’t allow me to leave, no matter how many times I told him I didn’t know the things he wanted me to tell him.

“I need you to get her to say where her father hides out when he’s killing¬†my¬†targets. I’m losing business because of that suburban bastard,” the man who was apparently in charge growled.

“Alright,” the other one replied. “I’ll try but she’s not giving anything up.”

“Hit her until she does, then.” After that no one talked. The only sound was flesh against flesh as he hit me repeatedly. Each time I let out a small cry even though I tried my hardest not to. “Come on, my hand is hurting. Just tell us what you know about your dad being a spy.”

I didn’t respond. I never did. I honestly didn’t know anything but nobody would believe me.

I gave up after the third week of being there. The only thing I wanted was to be back in my dad’s arms. Each day as I rose from my ripped up cot that they tried to pass off as a bed, I reminded myself that Dad was looking for me.

All hope of that was quickly hit away, though, when he failed to burst through the door and sweep me back home.

Every day I wondered what my dad was doing; if they had my mom’s funeral already; if Logan had a great twelfth birthday; and if my friends missed me.

A year passed before I finally talked. “I don’t know anything,” I croaked. Not talking for a year made it awfully hard to speak normally.

“What was that?” Someone new had taken the place of the first person whose job it was to hit me for information. I assumed the first one was fired–or killed– for not being able to break me.

“I know my father’s a spy but I haven’t even known very long!” The room I was in was freezing and completely empty and pure white so any blood that was gushed would go down the giant drain in the middle. This room was meant for worse things–more blood–than what I was going through.

He sighed. “I figured as much but no one will listen to me. I think you’d’ve given up any information you had a year ago.” This man seemed sweeter and gentler than I would’ve expected from people like them.

“Please let me go. My father–”

“I’m sorry,” he cut me off. “But if I did that we’d both be killed.”

That was it. I didn’t talk after that for fear of being murdered. Although death would’ve been preferred to what I was going through.

I kept track of the days I was in there by tallying on the wall. I was already fifteen.

On my birthday I sang to myself and spent the whole day in bed, imagining a birthday party that wouldn’t happen. My thoughts were the only safe place I had anymore and I cherished the moments when I could lay down and dream. I often dreamed of my dad, charging through the door and screaming, “Jendae!” before he’d literally sweep me off my feet and we’d go back home where all of my friends and family would say how happy they were that I was finally safe. If I could stay asleep long enough before waking up screaming in a cold sweat, the dream would end with my dad brutally murdering the person who did this to me. Much like he did to the people who took my mother’s life.

I’d usually go to sleep crying, wanting only to be in someone’s arms, preferably my dad’s because he was the biggest and the coziest. He could also keep me the safest and farthest away from the creeps who nearly killed me each day. I’d say I was grateful when I’d lay down at night to still be alive, but I’d be lying. I wanted to die. I didn’t want to spend another wretched day in that damn nightmare.

I wanted to fall asleep over the head of Terryn while talking about our days and laughing together. I wanted to take stupid pictures and embarrass myself with Kendra and Bridget and then do homework with Artemis. I wanted so badly to run into Luci at school each day, he’d chuckle and then shove me off as if he didn’t think it was funny. It became our routine–one I worked on–but still, it was nice to be noticed by him. Oake never really talked to me–he never talked to anyone– but he had a nice presence and was always really nice.

I just wanted to go home.

There were happy moments in my head, yes, but there were countless sad, lonely ones to go along with them. I often wondered what my mom’s funeral was like and if they mentioned me. I ran through the entire funeral in my head while waiting for those sick men to grab me out of my bed and begin hitting me again.

I pictured the flowers, the food they served at the service after the funeral, the speeches my family members would’ve given. As much as I wanted to pretend that the funeral was a happy moment in our lives, I couldn’t mask the obvious sadness that everyone felt. I could hear my uncle Monty screaming in agony as he fell asleep every night, wishing for his dear twin sister to come through the door. I was sure he began his episodes again as soon as he heard my mother was dead.

I could hear my baby brother’s sobs as he came to grips with the fact that his mommy was never going to read him to sleep again or that the beautiful aroma of banana pancakes wouldn’t waft through the entire house. We’d never wake up to singing like we used to. That is, if I even got home to wake up in that house again.

I could see–very,¬†very¬†clearly–my father sitting on his bed, clutching his chest where, as he would say, his heart should’ve been. I could see him being strong and keeping it together for precious Logan but as he fell asleep he would sob until there were no tears left to offer. He’d think that Logan couldn’t hear. I knew he would be able to. And it would make it all worse.

I knew Max would be sad about his Aunt Aphton, but I was sure nothing added up to the pain he felt from losing me. We were best friends–we did¬†everything¬†together from a very young age. I knew he sat at his desk each night like the nerd he was, trying to crack the cover of the latest book he was reading, but he couldn’t. He would get tears all over the pages. He just wanted me home.

This gave me hope. It wasn’t even something I saw for myself but I knew it was real. I knew it happened, sometimes even as I imagined it. I knew everything about everyone in my perfect little family. I knew how they’d react.

Did they dream of me? Think of¬†me? If they did, when? Did they want me home? I answered these questions with “yes” each time.

They loved me, I knew this for sure.

I knew Terryn sobbed into Kendra’s shoulder at night as she fell asleep. I knew she probably asked Daddy if she could stay at Ken’s house until I came home. “I just want her back!” she would sob. Kendra would rub her back and say “shh” over and over again while rocking back and forth. She would keep it together, but then Terry would fall asleep and she’d move to the bathroom to break down. She’d slink down the wall and sob.

I knew Artemis and Bridget would cry, too. They’d comfort each other until they fell asleep and I knew they had bad dreams about where I was. I knew their mothers well enough that I could picture Skye clutching onto Arty’s shoulders, singing into her ear. Ellie would sit with Midge at the window and tell her stories. Then when their daughters were asleep they’d wonder if the police were making any progress.

That was something I wondered, except instead of the police it was my dad. My dad determined to find me and nothing more.

I had no idea what Luci and Oake did while I sat there, cradling myself and waiting for death, but I knew they worried, too.

Finally was my Gamma. She’d look through her photo albums and look at old pictures of me and my mom and then she’d cry quietly. She lost both of her girls all in the same day. How could fate be that cruel to one, measly family? What made¬†us¬†so special that problems were literally around every corner and we couldn’t escape them no matter how hard we tried?

Why couldn’t I be sitting at the dinner table with my family? Mama laughing with Daddy, and Logan and I joking around quietly? Why couldn’t I just be happy for once in my life?

*~Owen’s Point of View~*

All the girls that were kidnapped were returned to their families. All except one.

Jendae.

My precious angel was never dropped at my doorstep like everyone else’s were. She didn’t wake up in her own warm bed and come running downstairs to hug Logan and I.

I was worried she never would again.

A month after my beautiful daughter was taken from under my nose, we held the funeral for Aphton. Seeing as I had just lost my daughter¬†and¬†my wife, nobody could get to me. I was there, but it didn’t feel like it. In my head, I was at home, snuggling Aphton on the couch, watching Spongebob at Logan’s request. Sitting there in that delusion, I was actually happy knowing that Jendae would walk through the door with one of her friends, laughing and talking about whatever it was she talked about.

In reality, as I searched Jen’s room after I realized she was missing, I came to realize that I knew absolutely nothing about my daughter. I felt like such a terrible father, but could you really tell me it was my fault I didn’t even know who she was? She refused to talk to me or Aphton when she was still around. When they were both around.

The only people she could trust were her friends, and even then I wasn’t sure how much she actually shared with them.

None of them knew of anyone who would want to hurt her and after those other girls were returned, I came to the conclusion that it was my own stupid fault that she had been abducted. They took her, the assassins that also happened to kill my wife, to get back at me. They probably wanted information from her, too, to find the perfect time to kill me. I was grateful that I never told her anything else beyond being a spy for the¬†government, but I also didn’t know how good that was. If she didn’t have information, they’d assume she was lying because in their minds it isn’t the correct answer unless it suits them. If she did then I was a dead man and they’d probably slit her throat, too, to get rid of their witness.

Any way it happened, I was screwed and so was she. I couldn’t change the fact that she was gone, but I wanted to every night as I fell asleep. I needed her home, in my arms once more before I could get a full nights’ sleep. Even when I did sleep through the darkness my dreams tortured me. They’d switch between seeing what was happening to Jendae wherever she was, to replaying that horrible moment when Aphton stopped breathing, to Logan following in either of their terrible fates.

Even though both of my girls were gone, I still had to be there for Logan. It was hard to get up in the morning–to do anything at all really, but he was still alive and kicking and it needed to stay that way. I needed him to stay safe, so I’d drive him to school each day and pick him up after. I told his teacher to not let him go out to recess until I could find his older sister. Those bastards could take him at any moment. The only way I could keep him away from them was if I were there myself to slit their slimy wrists.

I had to set all of this aside, though, as I sat at that funeral. I refused to talk to anyone and, despite their best efforts, wouldn’t look in the casket. I didn’t want to look at her cold, pale face. I was in denial, as were most of the people there, but at least everyone else would speak. I kept my eyes on a nail in the fence the entire time. Logan refused to leave Max’s side because he was the only one sane enough to acknowledge his existence. I could hear him muttering into my son’s snowy hair things like, “You know they’ll find Jendae, right? I’m sure of it!” and “Your mom’s in a better place now.” The one that really got me was, “Your dad will snap out of it soon, Logan, I promise. He can’t ignore us–especially you–forever. you’re still here, at least the last time I checked.”

After the funeral, because of the wise words my young nephew spoke, I forced myself to come out of my daze and at least function enough to keep Logan alive. It was hard at first but with the help of Monty–he came over every morning and night to make sure we were still both alive–I was able to become the Owen I used to be.

Well, the part that didn’t fade away completely.

I really didn’t remember much of my love’s funeral, but I was aware enough at times to hear Monty and Marian speak about her. I was nearly completely back when I heard his voice; Harry Keller. It was a shock to see him around, considering I had tried my hardest more than ten years before to find him. Where¬†did¬†they find him? If I, a trained spy, couldn’t do it then how did any of Aphton’s family members? I stayed aware long enough to hear him speak:

“I seriously thought Monty was telling me she was dead to give back at me for leaving like I did. When he wouldn’t just give it up and tell me it was payback, I went into shock. My wife started to freak out and thought I was dying. It wasn’t until an ambulance showed up that I spoke and told her what was wrong. What makes all of this even worse is¬†how¬†she died. All I can really say is I’m sorry I left–I’m sorry I left her. I should’ve been here when she died. I–“

“You’re damn right,” I heard Monty bark. So, he wasn’t going to forgive him, huh?

Serves the old man right.

That’s when Marian broke down and sobbed into my brother-in-law’s shoulder. He kept giving his dad cold, hard glares, which almost brought a smile to my face.

Almost.

Nothing, no matter how long I had been waiting for it, would make me smile.

I didn’t think I¬†would¬†smile until I finally found Jendae.

*~Logan’s Point of View~*

¬†For the parts with the classroom in it, ignore the fact that there’s only Winston and Logan. I didn’t have enough motivation to add a bunch of other kids. ^.^

i wish mr barker would shut the fudge up. what subject does he even teach?¬†My best friend wrote on the crinkled up piece of paper that was passed to me–not as discretely as he had wanted because all the other kids turned their heads slightly, but at least our teacher, Mr. Barker didn’t see.

We’d be punished and punishments in Mr. Barker’s messed up mind weren’t a simple “Logan, Winston, give me that and pick up your detention slips after class.” No, he sat there and lectured us–in front of the entire class– for the rest of the class period. Nobody ratted us out to him when they saw us breaking the rules because even when it wasn’t their ears being talked off, it was still painful to listen to. It was the same, boring crap each time and everybody was sick of it.

In my slightly neater writing, I wrote on the same piece of paper and passed it back to him.¬†i know, right? i think we’re in science, but i could be wrong.

Then we were broken out of our beautiful note land by Mr. Barker’s high pitched voice, pretty much screaming in my ear. “Mr. Keller!” he screeched. “How would you like me to call your father?¬†Again?”

“Dude, you have¬†got¬†to shut up,” Winston hissed. My eyes widened as my science teacher turned his attention to my stupid best friend.

What was that?”¬†I had, as surprising as this may seem, never heard him use that tone to any student before. Winston was in for it, I was sure. When my multi-color haired friend didn’t answer, Mr. Barker cackled and whipped out his detention slip pad. “Detention for you, Mr. Keller, and,” he said as he scribbled my name down, “Double detention for you, Mr. Alexander!”

“What!?” Winston gasped. “Double? That’s so unfair!”

“The first one is for passing notes with your¬†delinquent¬†friend here.” He pointed to me, which I thought was stupid. Win knew who his “delinquent friend” was. “And the second one is for telling me to shut up.”

“Whatever,” Winston said, staring into Mr. Barker’s soul (that is if he has one) and snatching his two detention slips from his grip. “Get back to teaching your stupid class, Barker.”

“TRIPLE DETENTION,” Barker bellowed. I snickered and my insane teacher fixed his snake eyes onto me. “And for you, for thinking you’re better than him, you get another detention! You’re just as stupid and worthless as he is.”

That entire exchange got a few choice words out of my dad. “Are you a freaking¬†moron?” Dad screamed–after school ended– as he tightened his grip around my shoulder. He knew how uncomfortable Mr. Barker made me. “My son passed a few stupid notes to his friend and you do¬†that?”

“I merely told them it was wr–“

“The hell you did! Winston and Logan told me exactly what you said! I believe it too, after the conversation I had with you at the last parent-teacher conference. I’ve reported you to the principal so it should all be blowing up in your face soon.” With that my dad grabbed my hand and stormed out, dragging me with him.

“Dad! That was amazing!”

“You need to be quiet, Logan. I’m sorry but that creep makes me furious!” I didn’t talk to Dad for the rest of the night. After Jen disappeared and Mom died he wasn’t the same.

He wasn’t my dad anymore.

**********************************************************************************************************************

“I am Mr. Barker’s replacement,” the petite, red-haired woman said as she wrote her name on the chalk board.¬†Mrs. Cowell.¬†

She was really pretty, actually, and I didn’t think that about most adults. Winston felt the same, apparently, because we hadn’t even been in class for two minutes when he raised his hand and said, “Can I get your number?”

Mrs. Cowell choked on her own breath at this and I could tell she was regretting her decision to call on him. “I’m sorry, Mr…” She picked up the roll book and looked up his name. “Ah yes, Mr. Alexander. I’m sorry but I’m a little too old for you. Can I get back to the lesson?” He nodded, giving her a wink and I snorted.

“You’re such an idiot,” I whispered. He grinned at me and stuck out his tongue. “I stand by my previous statement.”

Once the bell rang, letting school out, I ran to the flag pole–mine and Winston’s regular meeting spot. He was already standing there, as he usually was, talking to another one of our friends, Jackson. “Ah, there he is!” Winston exclaimed as I entered his sight. “My man!”

“What could you possibly want from me this time?” I scowled.

He flashed me yet another grin and patted me on the shoulder. “Get me a date with your hot older sister–“

I am not a violent person, nor am I someone who gets mad a lot, but Winston was finally starting to piss me off. “You finish that sentence I kick you where it counts, you jerk.”

His eyes widened and Jackson rubbed his neck nervously. “I told you that wasn’t a good idea, Win,” Jackson mumbled.

“But if I married her then we could be brothers–“

“She’s been taken, Alexander! She’s no longer home!¬†And she’s fifteen.”

“That hasn’t stopped me before.”

“You’re unbelievable,” I hissed, turning on my foot.

Winston could be a real jerk sometimes. Why did he have to remind me that my sister was missing?

I just wanted her back.

Thank you Skye Everard¬†¬†for taking the pictures under Jendae’s point of view! I know how late you stayed up to do that for me. I really do love you forever! ¬†

By Annie Shanks

Generation Two: Chapter One

Before you start, I’d just like to say that I’d really love to hear your feedback! So please, leave a comment! ūüôā¬†

The three nearly silent beeps from my phone were enough to rouse me from my sleep. I sighed as I rolled over and scooped up my phone from the ground where it had fallen the day before. I had gotten at least twenty texts from my best friend, Terryn, but the most recent one got my attention.

jendae! wake up! my mom is super drunk and i have no idea what to do! 

I shot up from my bed and fell to the floor with a thud. “Ow,” I groaned, rubbing my already sore back. I crawled to my door, creaked it open and tip-toed downstairs to the kitchen. I could see it being a very long night so Terryn and I needed snacks pronto. I had a habit of talking to myself in tricky situations to calm down but since it was one in the morning I didn’t want to risk waking up my mom. She already thought of me as a problem child and sneaking out of the house in the early hours of the day wasn’t going to help my case.

I opened the cupboards and grabbed the first chips I could find and things like Oreos, Chex Mix, various candies and enough soda to keep us up all night long. Grabbing my backpack that was lying carelessly on the living room floor, I slowly opened the front door and slipped out into the night. When my house was out of sight I picked up a steady run until I was at Terryn’s house ten minutes later.

Bounding up the porch steps, I noticed the lights were on in every room of the house. “Oh no,” I muttered under my breath. All of the lights on at one thirty in the morning at the Granger household meant bad news for Terryn. When her mom was drunk she was abusive. Her mom was¬†always¬†drunk. When I finally made it to the door, I hesitated. Do I knock or text Terryn? If I knocked I may get her in trouble but I didn’t know if she had her phone with her.

I decided on texting her. After pressing “send,” I waited for her to reply. Instead of sending a text back, though, she opened the door. “Hey Dae,” she whispered. Her eyes landed on the grocery bag of snacks. “You brought food?” Not only was she beaten regularly, she was nearly starved. I had to buy her lunch at school every day and I smuggled a weeks’ worth of meals to her every Monday. I nodded and she smiled. “Come in, quick.”

After being ushered in, we sprinted up the stairs, trying not to wake up her mom. Mrs. Granger may have been in bed but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t wake up easily.

That was the thing about that night. She didn’t wake up. Usually at the first sound of her daughter she’d wake up in a blind rage but she didn’t that time. ¬†Terryn sent me home and I sat in the corner of my room, assuring myself it would be okay. Truthfully, why should I have cared? She was an abusive drunk and I loved and trusted the person she took it out on more than anyone. But there was something that nagged the back of my mind as I ate breakfast the next morning.

Terryn was still a minor. She’d be taken away if her mother died.

I pushed away the thought and absently ate spoonful after spoonful of cereal. Sighing, I got up and put my bowl in the dishwasher and left for school without a word to my mother.

Terryn wasn’t at school that day.

Or the next.

Or the one after that.

She didn’t come to school for a week.

I was starting to get worried. She wouldn’t answer my texts or calls and she wasn’t on Facebook all the time like she usually was. Finally I got sick of sleepless nights while I thought of all the horrible things that could’ve happened to her. At three in the morning on a Saturday, I grabbed the phone and dialed one of my other best friends numbers.

“Hello?” she said groggily. Obviously I had woken her up.

“Hey Ken,” I replied as I played with the fabric of my shirt. When she didn’t reply, I said, “Kendra? Are you there?”

A moment later I heard her breathing again. “Sorry, Bridget texted me and I got distracted. What are you calling me at three in the morning for?”

I shook off the hissy tone in her voice. “I think we need to go over to Terr’s house to see if she’s still alive.” I tried to make it a joke, but it definitely didn’t come off as a joke. Maybe that’s because I was actually worried she was dead.

She sighed as she thought about the risks of venturing over to the Granger’s house. “Okay,” she finally said. “I’ll get Bridget to come with us.”

Within an hour all three of us managed to sneak out of our houses without getting caught and met up at the park. “Do you know how ridiculous this is?” Bridget whispered as we ducked into some bushes. “There are cops patrolling this area tonight! I heard on the news there’s been a bunch of kidnappings recently. I don’t want to end up like those girls they always are talking about.”

I nodded. “I know that, Bridge, but we have to help Terryn! What if her mother killed her?”

Kendra groaned, followed by “shhhh” from both Bridget and I. “Guys,” she began, but was quickly cut off by footsteps on grass. She flipped her green hair back to get it out of her eyes.

“Hello?” a voice called. “Who’s there? Come out where I can see you.”

“Now look what you’ve done!” I hissed.

Bridget put her finger to her lips, signaling for me to be quiet. I obeyed and shut my eyes. If we were caught I wouldn’t see the light of day until I was old enough to move out on my own.

“Hello?” the person (who I assumed was a cop) called again. When no one answered he walked away and we all let out sighs of relief.

“Now what?” Kendra asked as she checked her phone. “Shit.”

“What?” I inquired.

“My dad’s pissed. He wants me home now so can we hurry this up? He’s gonna call the cops if we don’t.”

I nodded and we crawled out of the bushes, looking around to make sure the coast was clear. Bridget took the lead and signaled for us to get up and run to the other side of the park.

After twenty minutes of dodging police cars and hopping into bushes to avoid being seen, we made it to Terryn’s run down house. “This is a ridiculous house,” Bridget remarked as we stepped up the stairs. She ran her hand through her blue hair to smooth it down.

“It sure is,” I sighed, knocking on the door. A few moments later, it was being creaked open. I smiled widely at the sight of Terryn. “Oh my gosh Terryn!” I exclaimed. “We’ve been so worried about you! Are you okay?”

She nodded and a tear slipped down her cheek. “My mom… she-she’s… dead. Alcohol¬†poisoning.”

I pulled her into a hug and rubbed her back. “It’s okay, Terryn, it’s okay.” I repeated this over and over again until her bawling turned into a slight sniffle.

“I’m so sorry, guys!” she cried. “I really am! I can’t believe how worried you’ve been about me! It was so nice of you to come over here! I’m so sorry!” Her pink locks stuck to my face but I didn’t bother wiping them away.

“Hey, it’s okay Terr,” Kendra cooed, adding herself to our hug.

“She’s right,” Bridget said. “We care about you.”

“Come on,” I said gently, grabbing her hand and pulling her behind me. “You can live with me for a while.”

She protested a lot, but eventually accepted (mainly because I wouldn’t let her say no). My mother and father didn’t hesitate in taking her in. We replaced my bed with a bunk bed so we could talk to each other whenever we wanted. “Oh this is going to be so fun!” she exclaimed. “Which bunk do you want?”

I smirked. “Top, obviously.”

In addition to our new bunk bed, I had to remodel my room to make it Terryn appropriate. It required a lot of pink paint but in the end it actually looked pretty good, and I despise the color pink. My aunt Miko had a lot to do with it, though. Mom always said she had a knack for things like that. I had to agree once all was said and done and Terryn nearly exploded from happiness when she saw the final outcome.

To celebrate all being right with the world once more, Kendra, Bridget, Luci (who was also Bridget’s boyfriend), Oake (who was Kendra’s boyfriend) and Artemis (Bridget’s sister) came over and played video games and gorged ourselves with junk food.

“Prepare to be defeated!” I exclaimed, holding my controller up in the air.

“You’re going to be sad when you realize how wrong that was,” Luci snickered.

“Shut it, jerk. Who’s playing and who’s not?” Oake slipped in the video game and crawled off to the side, sliding his brown hair behind his ear. “I’m assuming you aren’t, Oake?”

He shook his head and I looked at Terryn.

“What about you, sugar face?”

“Definitely! Games with you guys are epic!” she replied enthusiastically, grabbing a controller.

“Count me in,” Kendra said, adding herself into the game.

“Obviously Luci, too, right? Bridge, what are you going to do?”

She looked and me and raised her eyebrow. “Stick to the sidelines and watch you three get creamed.” She gestured to Kendra, Terryn and I, causing a fight. Artemis just stood there gaping at us, her chocolate hair slipping out of her hat, covering her eye.

Luci shook his head, smiling. “I spend my time with children. Can we start the game, please?” His black hair bounced slightly as he laughed.

**********************************************************************************************************************

People in Sunset Valley started getting kidnapped more often than they should have been. I had heard that it was only pretty teenage girls getting abducted. I did fit into the teenage category but I didn’t exactly think I was in any danger because I was average. Right?

I walked down the stairs one day, talking to Bridget on my cell phone as I went. “I’d stay in your house, Midge, you might be next.”

She laughed. “Yeah right. Tell Terryn I say bye though because have you seen the amount of middle aged creeps eyeing her up as we walk to school each day?” This was supposed to be a joke, but it was sadly true. She was completely oblivious to it, though, but Ken, Arty, Midge and I notice it and it was starting to scare us.

“Maybe one of those freaks are up to this kidnapping business,” I suggested. “They’re shady enough. I swear I saw one of those oldies hitting on a girl not much older than us.”

“I don’t know. Their brains are the sizes of peas.”

“How would you know?”

“They’re old, duh.”

I snorted. “Oh come on Bridget, don’t be ridiculous,” I laughed.

I could hear her smirk through the phone. “Jendae, don’t even. How would you know I’m being ridiculous? I’ve observed them–”

“So now you’re a stalker? And I thought you reached the end of your crazy rope.”

“Shut it, Keller, before I–”

“Before you what? Cute me to death?” Recently the group and I had been making fun of her for being a cute little girl type, when clearly she was trying to come off as a bad-ass.

“I have to go. Emmy is having problems with the stairs again. See ya later, Keller.”

I rolled my eyes and hung up. “Jendae?” my mom called from the living room. I hadn’t noticed it until then but I had made it into the kitchen while I was having that fulfilling conversation with my friend.

“What?” I drawled. It may have been that I was a teenager, but my parents annoyed me half to death for no reason.

“Come here,” my dad commanded. The stern tone in his voice intrigued me. While my mother lost all patience with me at the end of my thirteenth year my dad still tried to be understanding. He never spoke to me like I was his problem child, like I was to my mother. I obeyed him and walked into the living room silently.

“–I just don’t understand her anymore,” I walked in on my mother saying.

“Aphton, she’s a teenager. You were exactly like that. I’m surprised your mother didn’t explode before you calmed down,” Dad chuckled.

“What did you need me for?” I interrupted. I hated being talked about behind my back.

My parents jumped and Dad smiled at me. “Hello honey. We’re just watching the news. We–”

“We want you to be informed,” my mother finished. Typical of her. She patted the spot next to her but instead I sat next to my dad and snuggled up with him. This wasn’t something I’d do on a regular basis, but I jumped at any chance to get on my mom’s nerves. Again, I hoped it was my teenage rebellious stage making me do this. I didn’t know why I enjoyed it so much, but for some reason I did. Dad smiled contently and snuggled me back. I could see Mom’s face fall slightly but I didn’t move.

The commercial they had been watching ended and the news came back on. The news anchor, with his perfect, gelled up hair and blue eyes got straight into the report. “Three more teenage girls were kidnapped from their homes last night.” As he named the girls off, I closed my eyes, not wanting any of them to be someone I cared about. Fortunately, it was no one I knew personally but one of them was in my Spanish class. I sighed, glad to hear it wasn’t Kendra or someone else in the group.

“As of now, Sunset Valley Highschool is closed to ensure the safety of the teenage girls who attend school there. It will be closed until S.V.P.D can put an end to the kidnappings.” I tuned him out after that. He went on talking about the progress the police were making on the kidnappings but I didn’t care. Unless he was saying something about how the kidnappers have been arrested, I didn’t care. After sitting through the entire report I excused myself to my room. Opening my laptop, I smiled at the sight of all of my friends online. That meant they were all safe for the time being.

Hey guys! I typed. While I waited for someone to respond I researched the progress they were making. I tried not to seem interested in front of my parents but when I was in the seclusion of my room I felt comfortable looking at things like that.

hey¬†jen,¬†Bridget replied. After chatting for a few hours and getting no new information on the kidnappings, I shut my laptop and laid my head back while waiting for Terryn to come home from Kendra’s house. While waiting, though, I fell asleep and the next thing I knew a pillow was being chucked at my head. “Ow,” I groaned, rolling over. I hadn’t gotten used to the bunk beds though, which to my great fortune meant I usually fell off and hurt myself. Today was one of those days. As I hit the ground with a thud, Terryn gasped.

“Geez Jen, you’ve¬†got¬†to remember that you’re on the top bunk, girl,” she giggled as she helped me up.

“Thanks for that insightful observation, Terr, but I think I realized that on my own.” She nodded and left to eat breakfast.

As I walked down the hall to the bathroom to get ready for the day, I heard a car pull up outside of our house. “Who is it?” I called down the stairs. When no one answered, I repeated myself louder. Again I was answered with silence. “Fine, be that way,” I muttered as I hopped into the shower. I heard a lot of shouting but didn’t bother worrying. My parents had been fighting a lot recently because of the way I had been acting. I was sure it was nothing.

*~Owen’s Point of View~*

Shouting was getting us nowhere. The two men who thought it wise to pull up to my house fully equipped with guns were yelling at me about how I was taking most of their targets. “I’m sorry, but it’s not my fault. I just take out people that get in my way on the field. I can’t help who I kill.” This didn’t seem to make them any happier as we stood in my foyer. If it got any more out of hand I’d have to make Aphton leave and take the kids with her.

The bigger one, who had to be at least three hundred pounds, was getting angrier and angrier with each passing second. Finally, he pulled out one of his guns and pointed it at my head. “I’ve been gettin’ yelled at by my boss for too long because of you. He thinks I’m no good at my job because all of my targets are gettin’ shot at before I can get to ’em.” His Scottish accent was very strong, which meant he hadn’t been here very long.

I raised my hands and sighed. “Like I said before, Charlie, I don’t control who gets in my way.”

This didn’t please him. His partner, whose name I discovered was Alex, looked tired. When Charlie grew sick of threatening me, Alex took over. “Owen, just stop shooting every one,” he moaned.

Now I was starting to get angry. “If you say that one more time I’ll have to take¬†you¬†out. I don’t control who gets in my way! How about you do your job correctly and get to them before I do? I’m not even an assassin and I do your job better than you do! I bet I kill more men in my line of work just trying to cover up my tracks than you do when you’re supposed to be killing people. Murdering is what you do for a living and from what I’ve heard you do a pretty crappy job at it.”

This rant brought Charlie to his breaking point. “Alex, don’t try to stop me,” he said, irritated, as he got ready to pull the trigger.

“I dare¬†you,” I hissed through gritted teeth. By this point my hands were behind my head to keep him from getting any angrier.

“Go ahead, Charles,” Alex said tiredly. “He’s getting on my nerves.”

Aphton walked down the stairs from our room where she had been getting ready. I cringed. She didn’t have a clue what was going on. Alex, on instinct I assumed, because they don’t shoot¬†civilians,¬†whipped out his gun and a gun shot rang out. Aphton fell to the floor with a thud and didn’t move. Her breathing stopped soon after and I was ready to kick some ass.

“Bad decision,” I growled. Moving my hands from behind my head, I kicked Charlie in the leg. “You’re lucky that wasn’t a nut kick.” Alex reached for his cell phone, probably to call his boss. I grabbed Charlie’s gun from out of his hands as he hunched over, grabbing onto his shin that I kicked. I pointed the gun at Alex’s heart and without hesitation pulled the trigger. Within seconds he was on the floor, bleeding uncontrollably all over my carpet. I sighed as I remembered Charlie was still alive and kicking. That needed to change, and fast.

Charlie stood up straight and pulled out a knife from his jacket flap. “You’re going to regret killing my partner, Keller!” he yelled.

I smirked and said, “You’re going to regret killing my wife.” To get some enjoyment out of murdering the man who killed my wife, I hit him over the head with my gun.

“If you’re going to kill me make it quick,” he squeaked as he fell to the floor once more.

“Oh, so¬†now¬†you’re begging for mercy. No, Charlie, this is going to be slow and painful.”

“Dad?” Jendae screamed from the bottom of the steps. I cringed as I remembered I had my children in the house still. And neither of them knew what I really did for a living. Her eyes landed on Aphton and I bit my tongue to keep myself from yelling out from the pain I felt by looking at my wife.

“Jendae, close your eyes!” I yelled at her. She obeyed, confused as hell and I pulled the trigger towards Charlie’s head. I wanted to make his death slow and painful but I needed to get Jendae out of there as fast as possible. “Jen,” I whispered as I took her in my arms. “It’s okay.” I knew as I felt her breathing faster than normal into my chest that I would have to tell her I was a spy. None of this would make sense to her if I didn’t.

“Daddy, what’s going on?” she squeaked. I shook my head and squeezed her tighter.

“I need you to go upstairs to Logan’s room and be with him. Don’t let him come down, okay?”

“I-is mom… dead?”

I nodded and she let out a small cry. Oh gosh, how had I let things come that far? I tried to tell myself that what happened that night was completely out of my hands but I couldn’t believe myself no matter how hard I tried. As Jendae obeyed and ran up the stairs to her little brother’s room, I looked at the three dead bodies on the floor, all of them bleeding profusely. Two of them I needed to get rid of and fast. I dragged them to my car and slammed my foot on the gas pedal. I needed to get to my partner so he could get rid of them for me while I took care of Aphton.

Oh Aphton. I hadn’t allowed myself to think of her but once I got Charlie and Alex off of my hands I began to cry. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks as I drove home. I could only hope that Logan and Jendae hadn’t come downstairs when they realized I was gone. When I got home I was relieved to see they stayed upstairs. I looked around the house but Terryn was nowhere to be seen. I assumed she left out the back door when she heard shooting. At least I hoped.

I walked back from the kitchen into the foyer and let out a short sob as I looked at my dead wife. “I’m so sorry Aphton,” I muttered as I picked her up and walked her to our backyard. I propped her up against the side of the house and looked at her face. She looked so peaceful. “I truly am sorry.” I leaned in and planted a kiss on her lips and sat for who knows how long, just staring at her. I needed to get it all out of my system before I went inside to clean up the blood.

While most would be crying and locking themselves in their rooms, I couldn’t, no matter how much I wanted to. I still had my poor children to take care of even though I was dying slowly inside. I had never felt so much pain tugging at my heart before and it made me physically sick. I could barely walk as I grew weaker and weaker until finally I was crawling. My hands gave out underneath me and I fell to the pool of blood and sighed.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

Ever.

And it was all my fault.

I woke up in a hospital room and groaned, in a significant amount of pain. Doctors rushed in the moment they realized I was awake and soon enough I was once again alone. My partner, Shawn, walked in, sighing in relief. “Oh man, I’m so glad you’re okay! I covered for you, don’t worry. I said that you called me after two men came into your house and shot your wife. I said that you told me you killed them because they were a danger to you and your children. The cops are okay with it, mainly because I told the chief that we were spies. The rest of the cops have no clue what we do for a living,” he explained, out of breath.

I grabbed my head. All of this was giving me a headache. “Why would you do that?” I moaned.

“I had to explain the fact that I was hiding two dead bodies in my garage, Owen. I would’ve been arrested–and so would you–if I didn’t tell him the truth. Of course I had to prove it but that wasn’t that hard.”

“Where are my kids?”

He nodded, understanding that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. All of it was reminding me too much of Aphton. “In the waiting room. I’ll get them for you.”

A few moments later I heard rushed footsteps. “Daddy!” Jendae exclaimed, running to my side and hugging me the best she could. “I was so worried about you. Shawn explained everything to me. I know you’re a spy. Logan’s still clueless and I told him he wouldn’t understand what happened. All he knows is Mom was murdered. He… he won’t stop crying,” she whispered into my ear.

I glanced at Logan waiting in the doorway and smiled. “Hey bud, come here.”

He ran over to me the second he knew it was fine and gave me a hug. “I’m so confused,” he sniffled.

“I know, kid, I know. Maybe I’ll tell you someday but for now you need to keep on living the way you were.” I turned my attention back to Jendae. “When can I leave?”

“Right now. The only reason you passed out was because you were overwhelmed. That’s just what the doctors said. Shawn said it’s understandable.”

I finally got to go home with my two kids. I thought everything would go back to being as normal as things could be without Aphton around.

Yeah. I was wrong.

*~Jendae’s Point of View~*

In all honesty my dad being a spy wasn’t all that surprising. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken off guard at first, but hey, do you really blame me? It’s not all that normal to find out your father is a spy for the¬†government.

Yes, my heart felt heavy since my mother was dead, but I couldn’t let my father know that. I needed to be strong for everyone. Uncle Monty didn’t take her death very well. He went into an extreme depression and wouldn’t talk to anyone for a couple months. Grandma didn’t take it well either, but at least she could function the same.

Max, my cousin and one of my best friends, was always there to comfort me. He, among the others in the group, was one of the people I  felt comfortable breaking down in front of. There was no reason to be strong in front of them.

One night, when Terryn was sleeping over at Bridget’s house and my father was locked in his room once more, I was listening to music on my bed, trying to fall asleep. I didn’t think anything else could possibly happen to me that was worse than my mother being murdered, but I guess surprises come in all shapes and forms. Especially when you’re me.

This surprise was a brutal psychopath that crawled through my window in the middle of the night. I, having my headphones on, didn’t hear it open and him step in.

As I began to feel his presence, I took off my headphones and looked him straight in the eye.

Of course I screamed.

There was no way I couldn’t.

He didn’t react very well. He jumped up my ladder and pulled me to the ground. I fell on top of him which only made me scream even more. The lunatic stood up and pulled me with him.

He wrapped one of his hands around my throat in an attempt to silence me. “Hush, sweetheart, it’ll be over before you know it.” His greasy voice gave me goosebumps. I tried my hardest to escape. I clawed him and I knew I hurt him because blood gushed from his hand onto my forehead. In any other moment I would’ve freaked out at the sight of blood, but right then I was distracted with the fact that I was being abducted from my home.

I tried screaming and when he covered my mouth I bit him. He flinched but clearly he had been expecting something of that nature because he didn’t pull away.

I couldn’t believe that my father was only a hallway away and he wasn’t hearing any of this.

Daddy, I thought. Help. 

That wasn’t happening. My dad was too absorbed in his own sadness to be able to hear me. His sobs would’ve drowned out any sounds from down the hallway.

Logan wouldn’t be any help either. Even if he had heard through his obnoxious snores he was too tiny to help and Dad wouldn’t have opened the door for him.

I was screwed, I quickly realized.

My thoughts began smashing together as my oxygen supply was cut off. My vision went blurry and suddenly I couldn’t even remember my name.¬†Jendae,¬†I told myself.¬†Your name is Jendae. Don’t forget. Stay awake. Scream.¬†

I couldn’t scream.

As I was dragged out of my window and down the side of my house, the only thing I could think about was how painful it would be for my father to wake up in the morning and realize that not only was his wife dead but his daughter had been taken in the night as well.

How freaking perfect, right?

The last thing I thought as I was thrown in the back of a van was I am so. Freaking. Screwed. And then my world as I knew it faded away to blackness.

I have a HUGE thank you for my AMAZING friend, Skye Everard! This post seriously wouldn’t be here without her! ‚̧ Thank you for creating Terryn, Charlie, Alex and the Kidnapper. Also, thanks for letting me use your babies, Kendra, Oake, Bridget, Luci and Artemis as main characters and taking the last two screenshots for me! AND for making the kidnapping poses for me and putting up with my crap during the creation of this chapter. I’m sorry I put you through so much work but I’m happy with the outcome! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH CHICA.¬†

By Annie Shanks

Generation One: Chapter Eight

People come and go in your life but the one person you never expect to be the one who goes is your own father. To wake up to an almost incomprehensible voicemail as your mother sobs about how her husband, your father, up and left in the night is not easy. To find out he said nothing of his kids or grand children, only how he wasn’t happy anymore with the life he was living was angering.

When people leave, you blame yourself. It’s easier to think they left because you said or did something that offended them than to know that they left because they weren’t happy. You think back to things you could’ve done differently to make them stay, to make them come back. You wonder what you did wrong. More than likely, you didn’t do anything wrong. It was them. Chances are, they still love you, but you wonder how they could leave when they still love you.

If they love you they will come back for good, if they care they will explain why they left you in the dark of the night. No, you never think you know someone who will leave you. You never expect it to be your own father. Well, the sad truth is, it probably is. They must have left for a reason, correct? They didn’t love you, they hated you, you were too annoying. If that was the case, why did they stay more than twenty years? Why did they teach you your life skills and protect you from boys? They did love you. It was their problem they left, not yours. You’re never the problem.

These things I tell myself but I’m not convinced. Yes, he stayed for a long time but that doesn’t change the fact that he left eventually. Everyone is bound to leave eventually and if they don’t then they have nowhere better to go. My mother left for about a year once when I was little. Monty’s headaches were too much and she needed to go back to France to get away from it all. My father was heartbroken, but he had faith she’d come back. She did, yes, but he wasn’t going to. She believed he would but I could see he wasn’t.

You wonder what went wrong. You think back to all the times you could remember that they were together and at first they’re so happy but as you see farther into it, you realize they leaped at every chance they got to be in separate rooms. Everything starts to make sense and you understand now that maybe they weren’t as happy as they may seem. But why did she want him to come back if she didn’t love him? She did. She did love him, that’s why she waited by the window, starving herself. But as a year passes, your baby boy is born and your daughter turns three, you start to think that he’s not coming back.

You’d be correct. He’s not.

It became quite clear that they weren’t happy. My father was not going to come back. He didn’t love her and he didn’t care what happened to her. I always thought my mom and dad were so happy together but it turns out they were planning on a divorce for years. She said they wanted to wait until we moved out but by that point they started to fall in love again, so they stayed together. But once you have problems, they don’t just go away. They’re there forever and there’s no turning your back on them, because if you do you end up like my mother: sitting alone and sad at the window sill waiting for a man who will never return.

Contact was not an option. Dad didn’t want to be found. Owen tried once to find him but couldn’t. Harry Keller didn’t want anyone to know what happened to him. For all we knew he could be dead. He could have another family.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the image of him with his trampy wife and perfect child out of my head. I didn’t know this was the case, but why else would he have left? Where would he have gone so quickly? Why would he sever all contact with his daughter and son?

Everyone slowly moved on as they came to grips with the fact that he was indeed gone. Except mom. She continued to sit at the window and bawl until she fell asleep. It was becoming harder and harder to go to her house each day and make sure she had food as Jendae grew. My new son, Logan, was exceptionally patient as I made my mother food and cleaned her house.

She hardly ever talked anymore, but she made sure to tell me that Logan was a beautiful baby boy when he was first born. I said thanks and that was the last time we talked. Every day as I zipped around the house to make sure it was still in one piece Mom held onto Logan as if he were her lifeline. Maybe he was. Maybe if she didn’t have him she’d’ve killed herself by then.

She always said thank you as I left but I never bothered replying. That would show consideration and respect and at that point I had none of those things towards her. Yes, I understood how hard it was. I had, myself, been in that situation once before but I continued going. I suppose I didn’t love the man who left me, but I didn’t see a difference. There were people who depended on her and she sulked around her house all day. Wait, I take it back, she didn’t. She sat at her window sill staring into nothing while life went on around her.

Everybody tried contacting Dad; me, Owen, Monty, Miko and even Laura once, but it was becoming more and more hopeless. I just hope that the pain she inflicted on others and the time she wasted was worth it when she died in that sad, pathetic corner. I understand that she lost the only thing she had in this world, but it was becoming ridiculous.

More and more time passed. Logan turned one. Jen turned four. Owen and I were nearing our thirtieth birthdays, as were Miko and Monty and my mother had no idea. I suppose that time matters no more when you have nothing left to live for.

Time was moving so fast; Jendae’s vocabulary grew each day and she asked to be signed up for ballet lessons. She saw ballroom dance on TV and wanted to do that type of dance, but she was still far too young so I told her we could take ballet instead. Jen was content with that for now.

Logan began speaking and walking and we tried to show him off to Mom, but she didn’t care. She smiled crookedly, half-heartedly at us and we took it as a sign to leave. We hadn’t been to her house in nearly two months and it had been nice. “Do you think she’s dead?” I asked Owen as I made baby faces to Logan, who refused to eat. “Here comes the plane!”

“No,” he replied hoarsely as he absently watched Jendae show off her new dance moves she had learned. “She’ll take care of herself.”

“Do I sound like a total bitch when I talk about my mom? I sound so rude, don’t I?”

He shook his head and lifted Jen into the air. “No honey, I understand and so does everyone else. It’s been two years since he left and she really needs to move on. It’s not going to get easier from here.”

I nodded in agreement and scooped Logan out of his highchair. “Okay Fishy, ready for beddy bye?” I cooed, making silly faces.

“Nuu!” he cried. “I no want bed!”

“Darling,” I begged. “It’s almost eight o’ clock! It’s time for bed!”

He whined and pouted a little more until I told him we could go see grandma the next day. He had always loved his Gamma, but I didn’t understand. She never acknowledged him in any way, so why did he seem so attached to her? It wasn’t my place, I realized, so I never asked. It would only confuse him.

Jendae, on the other hand, fully enjoyed being alone while she danced. The only time she liked to talk to us was when she was showing off something she learned in class. “Wook mama, wook!” Her speech wasn’t exactly the greatest still, but I wasn’t quite worried yet.

“Yes darling, I see! Great job!”

Since Logan was born I had been running on empty. I didn’t have my father around which in turn meant I had no mother around either. Mom was my life support when I was stressed. She understood what family life was like and how stressful it could really be, so I would talk for hours on end to my mother about the stresses of life. But now I couldn’t do that.

One morning as I approached my mother’s barely-occupied house, I heard humming and the lights were all on. “Strange,” I mumbled as I put the key in the lock and turned it. I creaked the door open slowly and was greeted to the beautiful aroma of fresh chocolate chip cookies. “Mom?” I called as I walked towards where she used to sit. She was no longer seated there, but in her spot instead was an indent of her bottom.

“Aphton darling, is that you?” she called back. Her voice was no longer hollow. It had emotion, sang, almost, just like it used to.

My heart began racing and my lips curved upward. “Y-yes it is!” I didn’t remember a time where I had been this excited about chocolate chip cookies. The cookies would taste good, sure, but I was mostly¬†ecstatic to see my mother bustling around the kitchen, cleaning and stocking the fridge with fresh food.

“It’s good to see you, honey. You haven’t come around for a while.” It became clear to me just how much I had missed her beautiful French accent as she quietly sung lullabies that she and I shared when I was younger.

“Oh yeah,” I mumbled, rubbing my neck nervously. “I’ve been… busy.”

“Not a problem!” she replied giddily, taking the cookies out of the oven and placing them on the counter to cool. “How are the kids?”

I nodded, forming words. “They’re good. Jendae has a dance recital tomorrow. You should come,” I suggested.

She grinned widely and my heart melted. I had so missed her smile. “Sounds like a plan.”

*~Marian’s Point of View~*

I realized as I watched my perfect granddaughter stumble across the stage that what Harry did was in the past. I understood that I had messed up. Aphton and Monty made sure to get their point across as I sat on his couch, being lectured. The words Aphton spoke to me will never be forgotten. “Mom, what you put us through was hell on Earth. No child should have to watch their mother rot in the corner of their house. We’re happy you’ve finally come out of it, but we’re having a hard time believing that it won’t happen again.” Her voice cracked as she said the last sentence, and it finally dawned on me truly how much pain I had inflicted on my family. As they moved on from their father, a new problem arose: me.

Monty had his share of words, but they were mainly backing up things Aphton said. I nodded and smiled, clinging to every word they said. I needed to know just what I did to make them suffer so I could eventually pay them back. What I did was despicable, I know now, but when it was happening I was too blinded by pain to see what was right in front of me: the people that¬†didn’t¬†leave. That’s all that matters, isn’t it? He left, therefore he wasn’t worth keeping around. The people who stayed, even as I was nothing but a zombie, were the people I appreciated. I no longer needed Harry. I didn’t want him, either. I didn’t know what he did in that moment as Jendae smiled widely at me, but I didn’t care.

Ten years passed and things gradually found a new natural order. Jendae would come over at least once a week and practice her dancing and ask for advice. I, myself, was a dancer. I had been a dance teacher but after Harry left it didn’t matter to me anymore. Once I finally gathered enough courage, I marched back in and asked for my job back. “Of course, I’ve never seen anyone more talented than you,” my boss said, not bothering to add emotion to his monotone voice. That was a lie, I knew, because he didn’t bother to ask me to stay when I quit. I was getting old, sure, but I would never be too old to do what I love.

Clapping and smiling wildly, I exclaimed, “Oh dear, Jendae, you’re amazing!”

She stood up straight after plummeting to the ground and grinned. “Oh Gamma, thanks but I fell flat on my butt,” she replied, rubbing her sore behind. As I looked her up and down for any injuries that may have¬†occurred, I couldn’t help but mist up at how old she had gotten. Fourteen and so extremely talented and beautiful. Even though she would never admit it, I was sure she had boys chasing her around all the time.

“That’s fine,” I chuckled, standing up and taking her in my arms. Her sweat soaked hair and wet shirt was an indication that it was time to take a break. “I think we should heat up some popcorn and pop in a movie.”

She nodded vigorously. “Yes, yes, we should! But I have to get home by nine because I have my finals tomorrow. Wouldn’t want to screw up this noggin.” She thumped her head. “At least more than it already is.” Giving me her cheesiest grin, she bounded into the bathroom to change into some dry clothes. While she did this, I put in a black and white French movie from the thirties. After spending so much time with me, she had grown quite¬†accustomed to the French culture. Her favorite thing to do on a Saturday was walk next door to her old grandma’s house and munch on popcorn and snuggling close to me while we watched old movies.

Jendae snapping the door shut broke me out of my thoughts. “Okay, what one are we watching today?” she asked, plopping onto the couch. She patted the spot gently next to her and I took her up on her offer.

“It’s a surprise,” I replied with a smile, offering Jen some popcorn. “Don’t eat too much. It’s almost dinnertime.” She nodded her recognition and we began the movie. An hour and a half later I started dinner. “Tonight,” I proclaimed, exaggerating my accent more (it had faded over the years), “We shall ¬†feast.”

Jendae giggled and clapped her hands. “Oh goody! What is it?” She took a seat at the table and I smiled.

“Eeet eez.” I paused dramatically and took a deep breath and in my normal voice said, “hotdogs.”

Taking her first bite, she laughed. “Were you this way when my mom was this age?”

I shook my head. “Not really, I’ll admit. I had too much going on. I always felt guilty because I had to divide my attention between Harry, your mother and Monty. I regret that, especially now.”

She set her hot dog down and sighed. “Do you ever miss him?”

Taking the time to word the next sentence correctly, I thought back to that night.

Marian, 

I’m sorry. I can’t explain, but I will always love you. Tell Monty and Aphton I said the same to them. (sorry about the poorly edited note)

That was it. No explanation. No nothing. A short sentence that left everything to the imagination. “Of course,” I replied thoughtfully. “But I never want him back. He left and nothing will ever change that. The pain will always be there. A hole that can’t be filled, but truth be told, I’m better off without him.”

“If you could change what happened, would you?”

Where were all these questions coming from? “Honey, please, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. It’s a sensitive subject.”

“It’s been more than ten years, Gamma, I think if you truly didn’t miss him or want him back then you’d be able to talk about it openly.”

I sighed and set down my hotdog. “Jendae, it isn’t that simple. Just please, stop. Maybe some day you’ll understand but right now I think it’s best if you stick to things you¬†do¬†understand.”

She stood up in a huff and grabbed a grocery bag full of her dance clothes. “I think it’s time to leave,” she said and rushed out the door.

After cleaning up the kitchen, I settled into bed and for the first time in ten years I allowed myself to dream of Harry.

¬†*~Aphton’s Point of View~*

As the sun peeked through the crack in the curtains, I opened my eyes and groaned tiredly. “Owen,” I whispered. When he didn’t answer, I rolled over stiffly and pecked his cheek. He immediately woke up and smiled.

“Why hello.” Owen was most definitely not a morning person, but he always tried his hardest to be cheerful for me in the morning. “Did you happen to see what time Jen got home last night? Your mother’s been keeping her out awfully late recently.”

I nodded. “About ten o’ clock. She stormed in and wouldn’t open the door. I think they probably argued.”

“Do you want to talk to her or should I?”

“I will,” I replied, pushing myself up and dragging my feet across our bedroom floor. As I slowly made my way down the hall to my daughter’s bedroom, I thought of all the ways I could start this conversation. She almost always had something on her mind and our talks never went correctly. One of us always ended up getting hurt. That was something I would always be jealous of Owen for: she listened to him.

“Jendae,” I whispered through her door. “Jendae honey, let me in please.” A few moments later the door was creaking open slowly and I was greeted to her room that had changed a lot since I had last been in it. It went from being frilly and pink and familiar to a teenage sanctuary. I was rarely ever invited in and when I was it was because I asked to be. Even then, sometimes she would tell me she didn’t want to talk to me. It was painful, yes, but I still tried my hardest. I just didn’t see what I had done wrong. Why did she have such a great relationship with Owen while I sat by and let him do all the talking? It makes me feel awful to say this, but as she grew older they grew apart. It’s the selfish part inside of me that thinks that if I can’t have a good relationship with her, nobody can.

“What do you want?” ¬†she replied bleakly, collapsing onto her bed. “It better be important. I have finals today, you know.”

I followed her and sat on her bed. “Why do you hate me?” I didn’t even have time to stop those words from escaping my lips. I suppose when you truly want to ask something, it will be asked eventually. Not even you can stop it from entering the universe.

“Mom,” she sighed. I could hear the guilt in her muffled voice. “I¬†don’t¬†hate you. I just need space.”

“Space?” I hissed. Not on purpose, once again the words escaped me. “That’s all I’ve given you for years is¬†space. If I gave you any more space you could land a freaking space ship between us!”

She sat up, wide eyed. “M-mom.” Clearly she hadn’t expected this response from me. “I’m sorry!”

“Sorry won’t make up for all the lost time. You’re grounded.” Even as I said it I knew it was unfair, but I had grown sick of my mother hogging my daughter. She had, after all, had her run as a mother. She didn’t get another round! It was¬†my¬†turn.

“Not fair!” she shouted.

“Life isn’t fair, Panda, get used to it.”

“Fine,” she grumbled. “If you’re going to be like this¬†then what are the terms?”

“Nothing fun for two weeks. You don’t leave this house except for school.”

“What about grandma?”

“What do you think? No grandma.”

She groaned and rolled back over onto her stomach. “Please leave.”

I didn’t think my relationship with her could get any worse. I was very, very wrong.

By Annie Shanks