Author's Note: I noticed there were no Grounded For Life fictions so I decided to write one. I own no one thus far except for Keoni. I don't own the characters, not the show, please review and tell me what you think.
Jimmy looked up from the kitchen table, noticing that his palms were sweating. He grimaced and wiped his hands on his jeans, wondering why he felt so nervous to start school again. It might be because Lily wasn't there to watch out for him at St. Finian's anymore, seeing she was off at college with Brad, or maybe the fact that he now had another sister—Rose—to add to the complications that already dominated his life. He sighed, taking a small bite of the piece of toast on his plate—Claudia had burned it while trying to pack Henry's lunch because Henry had demanded that she pack him four sandwiches instead of two. The jam lessened the flavor of the burnt bread in his mouth, but he still almost gagged, and walked over to the trashcan, tossing the toast in the trashcan. It wasn't worth it; he'd just skip breakfast, besides his stomach was already queasy enough as it was.
"Dad?" he approached his father, tapping Sean's shoulder.
"Yeah?" Sean asked, his face clearly frustrated, not turning to face Jimmy. He was trying to spoon baby food into Rose's mouth, and she was bawling and screaming, her face bright red. "What is it?"
"I got to go to school," Jimmy told him. "Are you going to drive Henry and me there, or should I ask Uncle Eddie?"
"Don't worry, I'll drive you," assured Sean. He was rather possessive when it came to raising his children; it always bothered him when Jimmy went to his brother for help instead of to himself. "Just let me finish feeding Rose first," he absentmindedly wiped his hand against his chin, not realizing that he was coating his slight stubble with green baby food. Jimmy decided not to say anything, but sighed and ran his fingers through his lengthy brown hair—he'd decided to grow it out—and observed with his stunningly blue eyes.
"Henry," Jimmy called to his younger brother. "Come on, we have to go soon."
"Coming!" yelped Henry. He was still arguing with Claudia about how many sandwiches he should have. Jimmy stood with his hand pressed against the wall, somehow feeling like he wasn't there. He hated it; he honestly did. He hated the constant feeling that he was invisible, that nobody noticed him—that he truly didn't belong in his family; all of them were so distinct with their own personalities: Claudia with her sharp wit and forgiving nature, Sean with his impulsive attempts to weasel himself out of trouble, Eddie with his slippery habits that managed to get him into all sorts of dilemmas, Henry with his amazingly odd quirks, and Lily with her brash accusations. But how did he end up in this family?
He was quiet, shy, not even noticeable, while all of his family members were distinct, loud, obnoxious even sometimes—well, everyone he'd analyzed except for Rose, but she was still a baby. How was he related to them?
He did well in school, studious and quiet—unlike Lily and Henry, who could flunk out of anything and not care. He locked himself up in his room; he was a loner, while his siblings thrived on attention and popularity. He was fragile, afraid to be broken, while the rest of his family was full of spirit, confident, outspoken.
Jimmy remembered when he was little, he used to think that he'd been adopted, and his real parents were out there somewhere and they'd come and save him. But if he was, his parents were obviously taking an extremely long time, because for the moment, he was still right here, right in the middle of the Finnerty family.
Perhaps it was where he was positioned in the family; stuck in the middle, and hardly noticed. Maybe it was his personality, his soft-spoken nature—but he was tired of being unnoticed, yet he didn't know what to do. And he already realized that this was going to be another long year of drama and events that were going to involve the rest of his family, but never him. Never him.
"Come on, Jimmy, let's go," called Sean, breaking him out of his reverie. Jimmy looked up and grabbed his backpack, adjusting his white collared shirt inside his sweater and heading out to the car with Henry. Usually he walked to school or took the bus, but Claudia felt on the first day of each year, the parents should at least come, and Sean was to take care of it, because she had to stay home and watch out for Rose.
"Dad, hurry up and stop being such a retard," Henry said bluntly when Sean was unable to open the door of his car.
"Henry, don't talk to me like that!" yelled Sean, his face beginning to redden. Jimmy grimaced. That was his dad: boisterous, hot-tempered. He figured he probably got more of his traits from his mother who was calmer.
"Why not?" Henry wanted to know. Jimmy shifted and pushed his hands deeper into the pockets of his khaki pants. This was going to be awhile, and he doubted that he would get to school on time. Wow, wound up in detention on the first day. What a great way to start off his sophomore year.
"Because I told you to, and I'm your father and you have to respect me!" yelled Sean at the top of his lungs. Jimmy turned away from the scene; he knew things were about to get ugly. Sean could get angry in the shortest amount of time than anybody Jimmy was acquainted with.
He waited, his hands shoved deep inside his pockets, glancing embarrassedly at his fighting brother and father. When they had fought for at least three minutes, Sean finally realized they were running late for school, and managed to get the car door open with a lot of grunting and cursing. Jimmy climbed in after Henry, and knew that they were going to be late.
Sure enough, he was right. Sean drove in exactly eleven minutes late—and Sister Helen was already waiting at the entrance for them.
"God, Sister Helen," said Sean, with a smile on his face. Jimmy knew he wouldn't be able to weasel himself out of this one—late on the first day of school. "Uh…"
"Your boys are late again," snapped Sister Helen peevishly. "Mr. Finnerty, you can go home, I'll take care of the boys. Henry, Jimmy, come with me."
Sean was helpless as his boys were taken to Sister Helen's office. He waved weakly at his sons, and Jimmy just turned away. God, he'd been late almost every first day of school, and he was a sophomore now. Henry went in first (probably because Sister Helen wanted to get him over with first), leaving Jimmy in the hallway sitting on a bench. That's when Jimmy noticed the other boy.
He came in afterwards, his thin frame dejected, his hands stuffed in what seemed to be an attempt to be invisible. But since he was here at Sister Helen's office, he'd already become noticeable, thought Jimmy ruefully.
The other boy sat down casually on the bench next to Jimmy, his shoulders hunched up in an attempt to be ignored. Jimmy, usually using this technique himself, decided to respect the boy's wishes and didn't say anything to him. He glanced at him though, every once in awhile.
The teen seemed to be his age—probably a sophomore as well, Jimmy thought. Maybe a new kid—sometimes teens transferred after their freshman year. He had light, whitish-blonde jagged bangs across his forehead, and stunningly hazel eyes. Yet his skin was pretty tan, making his hair stand out even more. His frame was thin, his body lanky, and he sat with his hands folded in his lap, his eyes looking nervously around the hallway, his pink lips curled up in slight worry.
For some reason Jimmy wanted to talk to him. To ask him what his name was, to ask him where he was from, to find out more about him. He didn't know why; he usually hated interacting with people. He had always been more of a loner, but for some reason it didn't apply right now.
Jimmy suddenly realized he didn't have any true friends. Perhaps this was why he felt the need to open up. He needed someone he could depend on, someone he could tell everything. Maybe this boy right here could be the one. He didn't know Jimmy and Jimmy didn't know him. Jimmy had already established his reputation of being a quiet, lonely bookworm, and this boy didn't know anything about him. So maybe he would give him a chance.
"Hey," he muttered softly. "I'm Jimmy. Finnerty. Jimmy Finnerty." He flamed, vaguely embarrassed.
The teen looked over at him, his eyes rather suspicious. He studied Jimmy for awhile before replying with a slight wave of his hand. "Keoni Reeves."
"You new?" Jimmy decided to risk it. He'd see if Keoni was a friendship worth pursuing.
"Yeah. I transferred over from St. Sabian's. I'm going to be a sophomore," Keoni replied shortly, using some of his slender fingers to push back a shock of hair that fell into his face.
"Me too. I've been going here for practically my whole life. St. Finian's is pretty good. Except for Sister Helen," Jimmy told him, gesturing to the office where it had become dangerously silent. He wondered what Henry was doing to the poor nun. He glanced briefly up at Keoni's downcast face, and then looked away. He felt incredibly awkward, but he couldn't leave the conversation there. "So… um… why are you here?"
"Uh, I think I'm a new kid so she had to talk to me." Keoni looked at him a bit curiously. "You?"
Jimmy flushed, glad that when he blushed, his face didn't turn to red due to the texture of his skin. "I was late."
"Oh." There was no laughter hinted, no teasing, nothing.
Jimmy risked a look. Darn. There was a smile tugging at the edge Keoni's lips.
"Yeah." He let out a sigh, pretending to be indifferent, yet hating the fact that he was lying to himself. He cared; he did.
They sat in awkward silence for awhile. Jimmy studied the back of his hands, and Keoni seemed to find the floor fascinating.
"So…" Keoni was about to start the conversation again, but was interrupted by the slamming of a door. Sister Helen came out, looking truly flustered. Henry walked out, a smile plastered on his face. Jimmy shuddered to imagine what had happened.
"Jimmy, you can come in now," she ordered, gesturing at Jimmy. "Henry, you can go to class.
Jimmy looked back at Keoni. Keoni looked up at him, moving his fingers slightly in a wave. He smiled. Maybe they'd see each other again later.
Author's Note: Review for updates. Please? Keoni's going to be a major character if you're wondering.
-Falling With Grace