I pleaded to my mother and my father to change their minds as we left the airport in Memphis. They weren't hearing a single word of it. Were heading to Forks, Tennessee, where they'd decided I was to spend the rest of my days as a minor. That equals out to two years. Two years of fucking nothing! Dirt roads, trees, cotton fields or soybeans. That was all there was to see. I officially hate my life.
I can't really say that I didn't see this coming though. My mama and daddy gave me a million chances. I've been arrested a few times, always on underage drinking charges. I've had my license revoked, which was something that didn't help my case at all when I was brought into the ER three weeks ago after crashing my car into a guardrail on the road. I got bruised up, and my leg was shattered, but I was mostly okay. The doctor suggested my parents send me to rehab, but my father thought sending me to live with my older sister in the middle of fucking nowhere,would be a better option. Or a worse punishment.
Don't get me wrong now, I love my sister, I just hate Forks. If it were Memphis, or Nashville it'd be liveable, but it's two hours away from the city. Well, two hours away from Memphis, maybe more from Nashville.
My friends are all in Texas, my life is there. Even though I have a drinking problem, I've managed to create myself a pretty good academic profile there. What the hell will I be able to do in Forks that will make a difference? Find a new way to milk cows...Maybe start a project to get people to recycle the fifteen rusty cars they keep parked in their front yards. I need a drink, or a pain pill...maybe both. My leg is throbbing and thinking about the fact that I'll be stuck in hell for two years is giving me a headache.
"Jasper, you alright back there?"
"Yes Mama, I'm alright."
"Your sister's making chicken. Your grandma's recipe."
Tanya, my sister, has always been closer to my maternal grandmother than to my parents. That's actually the reason she's even in Tennessee. My mother's mother lived there. She has a house there at least a hundred years old. Tanya grew up with her, I think. She's about ten years older than me, so I only remember flashes of her but I always remember her being in Forks. She has her own bar and grille in Forks, called The Hut. That was something different because most of my relatives work to create, distribute, etc... Whitlock whiskey, beer, amd wine. The company is nearly a hundred years old. Right now my father is the head of it, his hopes are to pass it down to me. I want it, but I don't know if I'll need it. My mama's business is a chain of spas around the country. Tanya didn't much care to go down that path and I didn't either. She did attend beauty school a few months before turning somebody's hair cotton candy pink and flunking out, though.
When we got to the house I didn't recognize it. Of course, it was shaped the same way. It was a plantation style house. Huge columns, wrap around balcony, and shining windows. The bulk of it was white, with olive green trimming that matched the vines that were intricately creeping up the side of the house.
Before we could knocked the door opened and there stood Tanya. She was blonde, tall, but not taller than me, and intimidating. She hugged us all, kissing my mother and father on the cheek and ruffling my hair. I hate it when she ruffles my hair.
The house didn't look the same. The stuffy burgundy and gold wallpaper was gone. The walls were white. In fact, all the old stuffy decor that my grandma had was gone and replaced with crisp, modern style. Well, at least it would sort of look like home.
I hopped up the stairs to where the rooms were. My father attempted to help but I refused it. I was thinking if I acted angry enough they'd change their minds. My room was blue. It had a desk, a bed, and all the clothes and little items my parents had shipped while I was in the hospital. I plopped down on the bed and a few seconds later, Tanya told my mother to follow her because she was going to show her the rest of the house. My father sat down on the bed beside me and he clapped me on the shoulder so hard that it stung.
"Did I ever tell you, about your uncle Kevin," he asked.
"No daddy, you never told me about Kevin."
"Well... he was a lot like you. Smart as hell in school, no common sense though... drank like a fish too. He started young and at first it was thrilling. I was right along with him. I mean, how would it look... we were the future inheritance of an alcohol empire, we had to drink, right?"
"I don't know."
"Eventually I stopped, Kevin kept on. He couldn't stop himself. I tried to get my daddy to send him away. Folks were constantly offering to take him into their programs but my daddy never did anything. We must have gotten a million calls from the police because Kevin was out doing this, or that, causing trouble or just being annoying, but one night we got a different kind of call. I could tell by my daddy's voice that this wasn't the usual run of the mill late night call. Kevin wrapped his car around a tree."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"When we got that call a few weeks ago, I had flashbacks. Seeing you in that hospital bed let me know that we had to do something. I don't think you're bad enough for rehab yet son. But you have a drinking problem and I think part of it is your environment. Your friends. Plus, Tanya can keep a better eye on you. I know you might hate me for uprooting you like this, but I'd rather you hate me now and live, than die because I didn't do a damned thing to help."
I never cry. I was ten the last time I did, only because some girl kicked me in the nuts. This time I did cry though, hard. My dad hugged me and ruffled my hair, he patted me on the back and handed me one of the tissues aptly placed in a box on my nightstand.
"I'm going downstairs to catch up with your sister and see the renovations. Call if you need help getting down."
My father left my new room and I lay back on the bed, recalling what little I remembered of the night I had the wreck. I remember being at Peter and Charlotte's party. Maria broke it off with me to be with some other guy. I drank all the beer I could. I didn't stay long enough to get violent in my inebriation, but I did stay long enough to see Maria making out with her new beau. I said some fucked up stuff, Peter pulled me away, handed me another drink and I left with it in my hands. The rain started when I was on the road. It was hard just to keep my eyes open and the water looking like karo syrup on my windshield didn't help a bit. Then again, if I'd remembered how to use to wipers I would have fared better, at least when it came to the weather. Well, before I knew it the rain cleared out a bit and I was able to see, just barely. I saw that I was on the wrong side of the road so I swerved back to my side, making my car turn around and hit the guardrail that kept people from going off deadman's cliff. I hit my head, the air bag hit me in and face and my leg was pinned between the crushed metal, so there was nothing I could do but pass out and wait to either wake up and confirm I lived, or never wake up and assume I'd died.
I've made some pretty crappy decisions. Drinking too much was one of them. Drinking too much and driving was definitely one of my poorest decisions. Dating Maria was a pretty poor decision too. I dated her against my better judgment. I knew she was no good from the beginning. She's not the type that can be faithful, yet something compelled me to look the other way. I'd get drunk at parties so that I would pretend not to see her flirting with every, attractive man or woman within a two-step radius. I'd always hoped she'd come around and see that I loved her but she never did and at that party that night, it broke me. Seeing her openly kissing another person, making me look like a fool before I could even have time to make myself look like a fool. I hate her now.
All I could seem to think about was Maria, how I need something stronger than water, and how much I don't want to be here. The day faded away quickly and before I knew it, moonlight was splashed across my walls and my mother was coming to bring my dinner.
"Jasper... Tanya made your favorite. Grandma's chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. I brought you a coke to drink."
"I'm not hungry."
"Oh come on now. You've never been able to resist this and you've barely been eating for weeks. I know you're mad abou..."
"It's not that, well it is, but not only that."
"It's that girl, Maria isn't it?"
"Look, she did what she did and it's over now. Take it as a lesson and move on. You're handsome and smart, when you actually use the sense that God gave you. Don't get all hung up over her, she was temporary from the start. I'll leave this for you baby boy, don't let it get too cold."
When my mother left I turned around on the bed. The food did smell and look good, but it tasted even better. The chicken was tender and juicy; the potatoes were mashed to perfection with little bits of skin and lumps of character throughout. It was almost as good as my grandmother's recipe, but it didn't quite have that signature touch. I guess I'd say this is the next best thing. The coke completed the meal and when I was done I found myself happy that my mother has an undying need to feed me, most of the time. The food didn't make me feel happier, but it did fill a very tiny void inside me.
After sulking for only heaven knows how long, I finally went down into the family room where my parents and Tanya were watching the news. Apparently, somebody has been tipping cows over in the night here and it's making the people angry. The cows are nervous and two of them have suffered broken ribs and near death by suffocation. Though I'm not a bovine sadist, I couldn't help but laugh as the broadcast.
I kept my eye on the needle of my sewing machine. The last thing I want to do is attach my bloody finger to Victoria's virgin white pageant dress. I'd never get the blood out of the fabric and the sequins would probably be stained as well. There isn't enough time to make another either. The miss silver pageant is in two weeks and we are in the final stages of fitting. It's a really big deal in Forks and any girl who even remotely thinks she's hot stuff shows up, twirls around and answers those stupid questions like she's miss universe in hopes that she'll end up winning that five hundred dollar prize, that ridiculously tall crown, and the chance to say she beat out all the other broads in the county.
When the last sequin was sewn on, the thudding and pedaling of my machine stopped. I hung up the white, shimmery creation of mine and put it behind plastic for safe keeping before putting it on my rack of outgoing pieces. This is how I earn my money. I got good at sewing around age eight and it started with small alterations but by the time I turned twelve people were coming to me to make them clothes, bed sheets, curtains, purses, hell, I've even made shoes for dogs! It's my passion, and I'm glad it's lucrative because I've cursed out the manager of Mc Donald's so there's no chance I'll get a job there.
I turned my covers back to try and get into bed. It's been a long day and I failed my driver's test for the third time since I turned sixteen four months ago. It's damaging to my confidence that I may never be able to drive, and that I may have to ride my bike thin mint around for the rest of eternity. I just... want to be able to drive.
There was a rapping at my window. I opened my blinds to see Rosalie and Bella standing at it, smiling and giggling, and looking out for my parents. Behind them was the jeep that Dr. Cullen got Edward for his birthday. This is not good.
"It's one in the morning! What are ya'll doing out," I asked.
"Oh Alice, it's the first week of summer. Don't be so uptight," said Rosalie.
"Yeah, Edward and Emmett are taking us cow tipping and you need to come," said Bella
"Cow tipping! They are the ones doing that to those poor creatures? One cow has injuries! They should be ashamed. If I was a different type of person, Bella I'd call your daddy up right now and tell him everything I know."
"Well, I'm glad you're not a different type of person. So, you won't come?"
"Sorry girls. It's just something about harm coming to gentle creatures like cows that makes me unable to participate in their harming."
"But you eat beef, don't you," asked Rosalie.
"Don't try to get smart with me. You know there's a difference! Ya'll go on and have fun without me. I'd just be a fifth wheel anyway."
"You're sure," asked Bella.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"Well, we'll bring ya back a big, steaming cow pie," said Rosalie as she and Bella made a mad dash to Edward's jeep.
Cow tipping, I've never heard of such a stupid activity in all my life. What next, are they going to start bowling with chickens or wrangling hogs? I closed my window, shut my blinds, and turned off my light. I was climbing into bed when my cell phone started ringing. I picked it up and looked at the number. Mike Newton, could this night get any worse?
"Mike, what the hell do you want?"
"Damn baby, don't be so hostile. I was just calling to tell you I'm in the neighborhood."
"Well, ain't ya gonna invite me to come over?"
"What's with you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I've heard of playing hard to get but...you came onto me."
"How many times do I have to tell you, I never said that I was interested in you? It was a prank played on your by Jane and Victoria. I don't want you. I'm sure you're nice and all in your own special way but you ain't the guy for me."
"Are you a lesbian?"
"Yes... I'm a lesbian. I just love me some bitches."
I hung up the phone in Mike's face and I turned over to go to sleep. By the time I wake up that rumor should be all over town. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my mama busted in my room at the crack of dawn, just to confirm the truth or falsity of the rumor, and to find a way to combat it. It wouldn't be a stretch for people in this town to think I'm a lesbian. I'm one of the only girls without a beau, and I've never had one. I'm grouchy, or as my daddy calls it, surly and ornery. My mama prefers to say that I'm simply unfiltered. I think she believes I'll never get a boyfriend because I'm not sweet, people think I'm weird, and I'm built straight up and nearly flat chested. I'm definitely nothing like my sister was. She was the star of their eyes, their pride and joy, and the child they'd always wanted. Well, that was until she ran away in the night with her boyfriend last year. She did tell me she was leaving, and she promised to send me postcards. Every now and again she does. I miss her because she was about the only person who got me in this family, hell, in this town.
Sleep overtook me and I drifted off thinking about the time she and I waited until a group of people were skinny dipping at the lake before we took their clothes and hung them from the trees. It was the summer when I was ten and she was twelve. We always did get into mischief like that.
The dream was lovely, my bed was warm and the fan blowing on my face was keeping me cool as a cucumber. The only thing to stop this flow of total relaxation was my mother. I heard my room door fly open. I cracked open one eyelid to see that the clock said it was six. The daylight wasn't even awake yet, and here she was with her face mask on, in her night robe, standing over me with a scowl.
"Mary Alice Brandon! Do you know that Mrs. Stanley just called me and asked me if it was true you are a lesbian?"
I yawned, opening my eyes slowly to look at my mother.
"No, I didn't know that mama."
"Do you wanna tell me why? Are you going funny on me girl?"
"I came out of the closet mama. What do you want me to say? I realized it last night when I was talking to Mike on the phone and I felt the need to let my preferences be known."
"Lord have mercy."
"Mama relax, I'm joking!"
"Are you trying to give your mama a heart attack? Oh, and what's wrong with Mike? He's a nice boy."
"He's a stupid boy."
"But he's handsome and nice."
"But he's so stupid!"
"You are so picky. I don't know what I'm going to do with you."
"Can I go back to sleep mama? Not even the birds and the bees alarm clocks have gone off."
After my mother left out I tried going back to sleep but I knew I wouldn't be able to at the moment. So, I got up and started working on a piece of my own. A black bustier with flowery sequins. I don't use the machine to sew these on, I do it by hand. I've been working on this bustier for months. I'm not in a hurry to finish it because I know I have nowhere to wear it to. I don't even know what I'd wear it with. Though, I've been thinking of attaching a black pleated chiffon skirt to the bustier to just make a dress...a dress that would hang in my closet forever.
I got back into bed and I tossed around a little, eventually dropping off to sleep again after a few minutes. The next time I woke up it was ten, and I knew I couldn't sleep any longer. I went to the bathroom to pee and shower and wake myself up. I took my hair out of the messy bun it was in, I brushed it, and put it back into a messy bun. I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere noteworthy so I decided on wearing tattered jeans and a simple white tank top.
When I went into the kitchen my mother was there with Renesmee Cullen, Edward's little sister. My mother is an elementary teacher and she tutors and teaches night classes a couple times a week during the summer.
"Morning Mama, and Nessie."
"I thought you were gonna sleep til noon girl," said my mama.
"Well, I was disrupted this morning."
"My brother sleeps late too," said Nessie. "He comes in real late but he paid me not to tell mama and daddy."
I chuckled at her and then fixed myself a bowl of cereal. I hopped up on the counter to eat it, earning an evil glare from my mother. She hates when I sit on the counter.
When I was done eating I went to the living room where there were a few orders in my little basket. Mostly it was to replace zippers or elastic. Basically stuff that people could do, and probably knew how to do, but didn't want to do. I didn't have any fittings today either so I'd be as good as done with my work by noon. I got the money from the envelopes that were attached to the order forms and I headed back to my room, my workplace, my little realm of controlled chaos.
"Alice, why don't you have a boyfriend?"
"I don't know Nessie."
"Oh...I think it's cuz you're smart. Mama said you're not tying yourself down cuz you're gonna get outta here."
"Ha, well maybe that's why."
"I only have about ten dollars now, but by the end of the summer I might have like fifty. Can you make me a jean jacket for fall, like with pink sparkles and pearls and a bow?"
"Save your money. You'll need it for fireworks and candy. I'll make it for free."
"Thanks Alice! You know, I wish you were my sister. Edward's not really any fun. All he ever wants to do anymore is hang out with Bella or talk to Bella or go out with Bella. I don't know why they like to spend so much time together!"
"You'll understand when you're older."
"That's what mama and daddy say too! Do you like walking me to daddy's doctor's office? It's hot out here."
"I don't mind much, you're good company. Plus, I need some things from town anyway."
When I dropped Renesmee off Dr. Cullen gave me the money to pay my mama for the tutoring, and he handed me a free stress ball. I have a million of these but I don't mind getting them. They come in handy to squeeze, and they make great pincushions.
My next stop was the fabric store. I didn't know if I'd buy anything but I knew for sure I wanted to see the new stuff. There was some floral, multi colored tulle. I knew I had to have it, so I bought some, along with the mother of pearl buttons I'd been spying.
People waved to me with strange looks in their eyes. Yup, Mike's rumor is in heavy rotation.
It was lunchtime and i was hungry, so I decided to go to The Hut. I haven't been this week and I could really use some of Tanya's bbq bologna and extra special baked beans. I took the little trail that led to the hut. I got to walk under the trees, they shielded me from the sun I also got to walk over the pond where a few people were fishing.
When I got there it was only a little crowded because it was the start of lunchtime, so it wasn't packed yet. I went in and took my usual seat. Heidi came to my table.
"Girl, have you heard wh..."
"Yes, I've heard. It's not true, I just told that to Mike to get him off my back."
"I figured as much. You having your usual?"
"Alright. It'll be out in a minute."
I played with the salt and pepper shakers, making them dance in circles around each other. I ignored the stares and whispers. I couldn't ignore my grumbling stomach though. Walking in the heat takes something out of your, truly.
"Girl you sure know how to kick up the talk," said Tanya.
"Hey Tanya, you know me...trouble starter."
She laughed and then hugged me. I guess you could say I look up to Tanya. I come to eat here a few times a week and we talk. She doesn't exactly remind me of my sister, however, I can talk to her as easily as I could talk to Martha.
"Well I do understand, nobody wants to date a boy with the IQ of a sack of rocks."
She took her phone out and she looked at it.
"Shit, he's got perfect timing, lunch crowd is starting to pour in and everything... Alice, can I ask a favor of you?"
"My little brother claims he's starving at my house and I don't wanna leave since it's about to get busy. Could you be a dear and take him a plate? You can eat with him too. He needs the interaction."
"Gimme a piece of that silk pie and I'll consider it."
She got my food and my pie, and his plate, then I headed towards her house. It was huge and beautiful. It's one of the oldest houses in the county. It's been in a few magazines and won some competitions, at least when her grandmother was alive it did. I don't think Tanya is into that stuff, though.
When I got there I opened the unlocked door and I walked through to the living room where I heard the television. He was sitting on the couch. His leg was in a cast and propped up on a footstool. His hair was the color of honey and it was wild and stringy about his head. He looked angry. For the first time in my life I Didn't know what to say... I guess I was stunned. I didn't expect him to be handsome. I mean, Tanya doesn't talk about him much, so I didn't know how old he was. I was expecting a twelve year old not a, hell, how old he?
He turned to look at me and he jumped, hard.
"What the..who the hell are you," he asked. "What do you want?"
"I'm Alice and I'm here to bring your food and your sister asked me to eat with you."
"What? Oh... I should've known. I don't need your company, thanks but no thanks, Anna."
"It's Alice, and I'm eating here whether you like it or not. I gave up my table to bring you this plate and by now it's gone. So just get ready, you've got company today sugar."
He rolled his eyes and started to eat, trying his best to ignore me. I talked about everything I could think of just to get on his nerves. I knew I was really grinding on his nerves with my talk about the buttons I bought today. Sometimes I really can be cruel. Finally he put the food down and he looked at me.
"Please stop... if I hear one my syllable about mother of pearl buttons, I'm going to hit you in the head with my crutches."
"You could try," I said with a chuckle. He chuckled too, though if you weren't paying close attention you'd think it was a cough. "What's your name," I asked.
"Jasper. Okay. Are you just here for the summer?"
"No... I'm here forever actually. I start Forks High in August."
"Poor unfortunate soul. Where are you from?"
"Oh. How old are you?"
"Why are you here now?"
"What is this? 21 questions?"
"Yup... it is."
"Well why are you so incredibly annoying?"
"For the same reason you're sitting up looking like a wet cat. Besides, you'll need to know somebody in this town besides your sister, if you want to have any kind of life."
"What kind of life can I have here?"
"Well... there's not a lot to do, but the little we do have is alright."
He chuckled and sat back, finished with his food. I had only gotten halfway through mine. I didn't even want to finish it for some reason, so I closed the styrofoam carryout container and I drank down the rest of my coke. Afterwards I got up.
"Where are you going, I thought you were supposed to keep me company," he asked with sarcasm peppered throughout his voice.
"She said I had to eat with you and keep you company and I'm done eating."