Author's Note: Feel free to burn me at the stake; this took forever. I know I'm terrible for stranding it so long, but gah I just reached a blocking point in the original story. I've evolved so much as a writer, and I'm still evolving. Maybe I'll never be totally happy, but this is a lot better than a twelve year old with a musical obsession. Enjoy! As always, reviews/comments/constructive criticism is welcome!
Have you ever wondered about something you didn't know about? Maybe there's a place you've never visited. Maybe you've wondered what it would be like to meet a complete stranger. I've wondered about both of those things.
However, I know exactly what will happen in those situations.
I'm sitting on top of a trashcan in a back alley of London. London: The Big Smoke; London: The land of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. We're supposed to be known for our etiquette and our fancy accents. The accent part might be true, but the part about etiquette can certainly be argued.
The air is cold and the breeze, blowing gently every few minutes, makes it feel even colder. The freezing metal of the trashcan sends shivers up my back, but I don't mind. I need a shock to build up my confidence. And I need a lot of confidence for what I'm planning to do.
I breathe in the pungent smell of the alley way as I look up to the moon. While it was only half full, the moon lit up the night. I smiled to myself as I remembered my mother.
My mom was beautiful. She had black and golden fur that was laced with red, and her body was covered in white patches of fur. It was a mismatched beauty that only my mother could uphold. Her eyes were sharp amber that could intimidate the strongest of cats, but they would melt for the ones she truly cared about. Her voice was powerfully soothing, and she would always sing me a lullaby, no matter how old I was.
"Memory, all alone in the moonlight."
She would cradle me in my arms as she sang to me. I remember curling into her soft fur and kneading it under my paws. I could almost feel her scratching behind my ears.
"Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise."
I had heard that voice my entire life. Mom was my world. She was a world that would accept me and love me.
My mother had no one aside from me. Her world had shunned her and cast her off to die. I was her new world.
She didn't care about what people gossiped about. She told me to ignore the slurs of "The Jellicle Bastard." She stood tall as we were forced out of every home we had ever thought we found. She hugged me when I came home crying.
So much for etiquette, huh?
I took a deep breath and wrung my hands. I knew why I was here, but could I really go through with this? After a lifetime of running away from my troubles, could I really face the Jellicles?
"I must think of a new life, and I mustn't give in."
Even if I didn't want to, I had to. My mother wanted me to come here, and I would have done anything to make her happy. She had always composed herself in front of me. She made sure I had someone to look up to, someone who didn't crumble from insults. I was here for her. I was here to make something of myself for her.
"When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory, too. And a new day will begin."
I clenched my fists and let out the breath I was holding. I started to walk into the Junkyard. There was no going back.
The piles of trash created pathways through the Junkyard. I stared up at the small mountains that were formed, made up of all sorts of garbage. There were coffee cups and cardboard boxes, old televisions and busted couches. It was the perfect place for any cat to call home.
Well, maybe not me.
As I continued walking, the chatter of the other cats reached my ears. It was a mix of laughter and joyful conversation. These cats were happy. They were oblivious to the fact that I was going to come in and ruin whatever they were doing.
My stomach churned. I clenched my teeth, holding back the desire to throw up. I couldn't do this. There was no way I could do this.
"Listen to me, sweetie. You are strong, brave, and beautiful. You are mine."
"I wanted to go back with you, but fate changed that, huh?"
"You're gonna be fine, Mommy."
"Go home for me, my love, back to the Junkyard."
I shuddered; I had to do this.
So this is what it feels like to die on the inside.
I had stepped into the center of the Junkyard. I felt like I was on trial for a public execution. My head was lying on the board and the blade of the almighty guillotine was glistening overhead. My mouth was dry and I was swallowing nothing but air.
Eyes bore into me, piercing like daggers. They saw my reputation; they saw who they thought was my father. There were angry whispers and low growls surrounding me.
With a rage-filled urgency, a tall silver tabby was approaching me.
I knew who he was.
"How could you love him, Mama?"
"He was charming, suave, and elegant. Tall and stern to those around him, but his silver exterior melted in front of me."
"The past makes no difference. I told you that."
"What was his name?"
"What the hell are you doing here?" Munkustrap growled.
I stared at him. This tom had forsaken my mother. He cast her out like a piece of trash, but she loved him.
"I said what the hell are you doing here?"
He stood a few inches over me. His gray eyes pierced me once more, but I held my ground. I met his gaze and stepped closer to him, "I think you know why I'm here."
Neither one of us wavered. It was like fire meeting fire; we were both too strong. His brow scrunched and his voice was a low almost inaudible growl, "I suggest you turn around before I resort to using force."
"No." It was a simple word, a statement. Who knew it could bring on so much hatred?
I was pushed onto my back, my breath spilling out of me. I tried to gasp, but it was caught in my throat as claws dug into my face. I winced as the pain surged through me, providing me with a surge of adrenaline.
I wasn't going down without a fight.
I pushed into him, shifting our weight so that I had him pinned beneath me. I took a swing at him, but he grabbed my arm, twisting it as he pushed me aside. I hissed as his claws dug into my arm and I blindly kicked at him.
Let's just say I hit a very delicate area.
He stumbled backwards clutching himself and I regained my footing. I surged forwards, but I was pulled back into someone's chest.
My instinct's told me to struggle. This wasn't fair, I couldn't fight so many cats on my own. My arm flew back and made contact with a firm chest. My captor hissed, but held on tighter, "I'm not fighting you, Jezzabella."
Jezzabella…How the hell did this cat know my name?
I whipped around only to meet a tall black and white tom. He had a large patch of black covering his right eye and another covered the left side of his mouth. He was a head taller than me, so I looked up into his gray-green eyes as I growled, "Who are you?"
He shook his head and muttered, "Later."
I had no time to protest before the tom shouted across to Munkustrap, "I think this was a little uncalled for, Munkus."
Munkustrap looked between the tom and me before narrowing his gaze and walking towards us, "You shouldn't have stepped in."
"And what would you have done?" the patched tom asked, raising his voice, "Kept attacking her?"
Munkustrap glared, "She deserves it."
I growled and tried to push forward once more, but my efforts were futile. How could he insult me like this? He had loved my mother hadn't he? How much of a bastard had he become?
I glared down at him, but he never wavered. I could feel the anger in the patched tom's chest, "Did Demeter deserve it?"
Everyone froze at that remark. They all knew my mother; that much was obvious. What surprised me was that not everyone hated me. This tom wanted to help me. Were there others?
"He's right, Munkus."
I turned to my right to see a red and white queen walking up to us. Black spots accented her fur and her eyes burned in anger.
"This isn't your fight, Bomba," my captor growled.
She glared at him, "It became my when he exiled Demeter."
Her gaze softened as she looked at me. Her eyes showed something akin to recognition and she winked at me. I gave a slight shrug in response.
We quickly resumed our rage-fueled positions, but Munkustrap was having none of it, "If you don't back down right now I'll…"
"Munkustrap! Don't you dare make threats you don't want made on yourself!"
I turned to face the stout tabby queen rushing towards us, her face flushed with anger. Her cream fur, accented with tiger stripes and leopard spots, bristled as she came to my side, holding my shoulder as she glared down at Munkustrap.
Munkustrap had not expected to be cut off. I could see the confusion and hate in his eyes as he looked at us. Another insult was formulating, but before he could attack us again, another cat spoke up.
"What kind of leader throws out a queen without a fair trial?"
A black and white tuxedo tom walked up to us. His blue eyes studied me for a moment before settling on Munkustrap.
I had never expected this kind of response, not in a million years. I had expected to be beaten, yelled at, and exiled before I even got this far into the Junkyard. Yet here I am, surrounded by four cats that are willing to insult their Protector to protect me.
Munkustrap was speechless. His mouth opened and closed, like a fish gasping for air. When he accepted his defeat, he clenched his jaw as well as his fists. He looked down at the floor before speaking in a low growl, "Old Deuteronomy decides her fate. I don't give a damn where she stays, but I want her out of my sight."
As Munkustrap stalked away, the other cats began to whisper and hiss. Some were more interested in throwing insults at me, while others were fascinated by Munkustrap's defeat. I'm certain no one expected mutiny.
The stout tabby rubbed my shoulder before speaking affectionately, "Are you all right, dearie?"
"Yeah," I muttered, "and thank you. I…I never thought…"
"That anyone would help you?" the queen cut in.
"The past is in the past. We want to help you, no matter what," the queen replied.
I smiled and nodded, bringing my head down a bit, "I don't deserve this."
"Nonsense," the queen smiled, "Now, my name is Jennyanydots, but you can call me Jenny."
I nodded again as she gestured for the other cat's to speak.
The patched tom spoke up first, reaching out to shake my hand, "My name's Alonzo. I…um…apologize for restraining you earlier."
I chuckled as the red queen stepped next to him, "I'm Bombalurina, but it's Bomba to you."
The tuxedo tom stepped up last, standing straight as he spoke softly, "I'm Mr. Mistoffelees, but everyone calls me Misto," the tuxedo tom said extending his hand.
I cocked my head and shook his hand, "Bit of a strange name, ain't it?"
"Perhaps," he muttered, "but it suits me just fine." He winked as we pulled apart, leaving a strange tingling sensation in my hand. "What about you?"
I had never even thought to tell them my name, but I spoke confidently, "I'm Jezzabella."
Alonzo nodded, "We know."
I cocked an eyebrow, "Care to explain why?"
Bomba spoke up, "Your mother had a lot of close friends in the Junkyard when...the scandalhappened. The four of us knew she was didn't deserve what happened to her."
I nodded slowly. The story: Your mother was wonderful. Then you happened. We're sorry that she was exiled, but it's still kinda your fault.
"We have to find you a place to stay," Alonzo said.
"Let her stay with me," Bomba replied.
"But what about Tugger?"
"I'll handle him."
"Tugger is not so easy to handle, Bomba."
I stepped back as Alonzo and Bomba began their heated discussion. This was the beginning. I was going to cause so many problems just being here.
"Don't beat yourself up about them."
My ears perked up as I turned to the tuxedo tom, "What?"
Misto nodded towards Alonzo and Bomba, "They both have big personalities; they clash even when you're not here."
"How do you know that's what I was worried about?"
He smiled with a glint in his eyes, "Was it?"
I smirked, but before I could respond Bomba had started to pull me away into a pathway of trash.
Misto chuckled and waved me off before walking towards a fuming Alonzo. I waved back before turning to Bomba, "Everything good?"
"For now," she groaned, "what about you?"
"As good as I'll ever be," I sighed.
Bomba nodded, "Well, it'll get better. I'm sure of it."
I shrugged, "So…how did you know my mom?"
"I was her best friend."
"Bombalurina was graceful, sassy, charming…everything a best friend should be."
"Oh, she didn't exile you too?"
"No, Jezz, she didn't. I will say that her suitor wasn't too fond of me, though."
"Mom used to say you had a suitor of sorts."
Bomba grinned, "Demeter was always too refined to call him my mate. That 'suitor' is known as the Rum Tum Tugger and we have three gorgeous children."
I noddedd politely, "What are their names?"
"Genesis is about your age. The twins, Lilianna and Dewey, are much younger."
"You're not afraid they'll hate me to?"
Bomba paused and looked back at me. Her eyes were sad, pitiful. I expected a lot of looks like that in my time here at the Junkyard.
"My children know better than most cats here. I can handle my mate. I don't want you to worry about anything."
I forced a laugh, "I've worried by entire life, Bomba. It's a little late for me to start now."
Bomba frowned and squeezed my hand, "It's never too late for a new beginning."
I shrugged and allowed Bomba to continue leading me. I didn't want to tell her that there was no such thing as a new beginning for cats like me.
We walked in silence until we came upon a red-and-white checkered curtain. Bomba pulled the curtain back and gestured for me to go first. I nodded and stepped into a broad tunnel. I walked cautiously forward as Bomba followed behind me.
We entered a large rounded room. A tan threadbare carpet lined the floor and patches of green striped wallpaper lined the walls. Two long and narrow crates were pushed together to form a table, and a simple white sheet was spread out along the crates and a small lamp sat on top. Pillows and cushions were strewn across the floor. It was an incredibly simple layout, but it felt safe, like a home should feel. There were archways at the end of the room, leading deeper into the den, and two small cats, a queen and a tom, stood in the center archway.
The tom was the shorter of the two and stood on the left. He had black and golden fur, and leopard spots were speckled across his chest. Small red patches of fur accented the spots and red curl resided near his left ear. The queen was identical to the tom, the only exception being the red curl, which resided on her right ear, and the black spots that graced her cheeks like freckles.
Their eyes were wide as they stared at me; even they knew who I was. I heard Bomba come in behind me, and their gazes shifted to her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bomba beckon them over. They stiffened and made no motion to move, but I couldn't blame them. Whether they saw what happened with Munkustrap or not, my reputation was strong enough to make everyone wary of me.
Bomba sighed and guided me by the elbow to one of the cushions. She sat me down and spoke softly, "We'll need to dress your wounds."
I nodded, having completely forgotten about the cuts on my face and arm. Bomba once more gestured to once more for the two young cats to come over. Tentatively, the queen walked towards us, followed by the tom.
"Introduce yourselves, dearies," Bomba cooed.
The queen chewed her lip, "I'm Lilianna, but I like Lili better."
The tom peeked out from behind her shoulder, "I-I'm Dewey and w-w-we're twins."
I nodded and gave a small smile, "My name is Jezzabella, but I don't have any siblings."
Lili and Dewey shared a small smile as Bomba stood, "Let me get the stuff to clean you up."
The twins nodded as Bomba walked away. They both took seats on opposite sides of me, and once again Lili spoke first, "Are you going to be staying with us?"
"I think so. I don't really have anywhere else to go."
"W-w-why's that?" Dewey asked.
I bit my cheek, unsure of how to answer, "There's really no way to explain it...at least not easily"
"T-that's o-ka-ka-kay, we can li-listen for a l-l-long time."
"Dewey," Lili hissed, "don't be rude. Maybe she doesn't wanna explain it."
I swallowed nervously, "It's just a topic you guys shouldn't have to hear."
Dewey cocked his head, but nodded. The curiosity was killing him, but he understood the delicacy of the situation. Lili was still glaring at him when Bomba returned with bandages, a towel, and a bowl of water.
She looked between the three of us and glanced cautiously at me. I shook my head and she continued with her task: setting the bowl on the table and cleaning my wounds. Dewey shifted so Bomba could sit next to me. She dipped the towel in water and started to scrape away the dried blood on my arm. The water in the bowl quickly turned to the color of rust as she cleaned the raw cut, and I couldn't help but cringe.
When Bomba finally moved to the scratches on my face, Bomba glanced at Lili, "Take Dewey and go find your sister."
"But we wanna stay here," Lili whined.
Bomba fully shifted herself towards her daughter, "Now."
Lili quieted and stood up, grabbing Dewey's wrist and taking him out of the den.
Once they were gone, Bomba turned to me and sighed, "I'm sorry if they made you uncomfortable. Their curiosity is going to kill them."
I shrugged, trying to keep my face still as Bomba cleaned the wounds, "There's nothing really comfortable about my situation."
"No, there isn't," Bomba said, "but it doesn't justify what's been done."
"What about Old Deuteronomy?" I asked, "What does he think about the whole 'Jellicle Bastard' thing?"
Bomba chewed her lip, "Stay still for a second."
Well that wasn't a good sign. I narrowed my gaze and looked at the older queen, "What are you hiding, Bomba?"
"Old Deuteronomy," she sighed, "is Munkustrap's father."
Author's Note: I'm going to be honest; it's most likely going to take me a month to update chapters. It's not just this one, but for any fic I write. I finally got to a point where I was happy with this story (the struggles of being a perfectionist) I hope you guys enjoyed it!
Yours till the milk shakes,