O.K. loves, here is the beginning of my New story. I won't chat too much. I'll just let you read.
I do NOT own any of these characters, any and all references to the books belongs to the WONDERFUL and AMAZING Cassandra Clare! However the creative idea for the story is mine and any and all changes or references to it must go through me.
If you asked me four years ago if I thought I'd be where I am today, I'd say there'd be no way in hell. I was lucky to get into college let alone finish it. I had one reason for my success and her name is Kaelie Bennett. I owe her so much that I feel I'll never be able to pay back my debt to her. She filled a darkness inside me where I thought I would never see light and she made me whole. When she told me she could get me a job back in her hometown of Augusta, Montana and that she didn't want to lose me because college was over, I couldn't refuse.
"I'm so excited for you to meet my parents, Jace. They're going to love you, just like I do," she says as her big green eyes twinkle at me and she smiles. I take her hand and kiss the back of it, but have no words. I've never left New York. In fact, I was terrified of leaving because it's all I've ever known, and now I was being whisked away to a completely different world. LaGuardia airport is abuzz with people trying to make their flights and I force myself to sit here instead of running for the door. I need to stop running, I've been doing it my whole life and now I have to go somewhere and put down some roots.
I'm not sure if this is the right choice but it seems like the logical one. Kaelie's dad owns a real-estate business and had a friend at the bank that got me a job as a loan officer. I hadn't planned on sitting in front of a desk for the rest of my life, but it was a job and a fresh start. A short lady with dark hair pulled into a tight bun calls over the intercom that we can now board our flight. My stomach flutters as Kaelie stands and I give her a tight lipped smile before getting out of my seat and heading for the tunnel that will begin my journey in this new life.
I've never been on a plane before. I'm not afraid of heights or flying but I don't like the stuffy feeling inside. The seats are too close together and the air is stale. I already want off this tin can with wings but we find our seats and plop down. A voice rings around us and I spot the source. It's a short blond girl dressed in a dark blue suit. She looks pleasant and her voice seems to calm me enough so that I loosen my grip on the seat dividers. She tells us where the exits are while pointing in the direction she indicated and then tutors us on how to fasten our seatbelts while another woman in a blue suit walks the length of the aisle with one in her hand. I already beat them to that, but I note the exits just in case I need to bolt.
Kaelie's hand covers mine and I tense. "Relax, we'll be home in no time," she whispers. Her words don't make me feel any better but I sit back in my seat and close my eyes thinking about one in particular. Home…there hasn't been a place I considered home in a very long time. My parents died in a car accident when I was fifteen. I was shuffled between family members until I was eighteen because I wasn't really the best child to deal with. I had anger issues and was diagnosed with severe depression after my parents deaths, two things none of my family members could seem to handle. Oh yeah, I'm fucked up, but at least my mother and father didn't leave me empty handed. They had some very large life insurance policies and my father owned an investment firm, which I hold the majority of stock in at the moment.
Kaelie knows nothing about my money and I like it that way. It's not that I don't trust her, but I like it to be my little secret. Her family has money growing on trees anyway so it's not like it would matter to her. It's very safe for me to say that I would never have to work a day in my life if I didn't want to, but I would give it all back to have my parents again. They were my home and when they died they took the very essence of what home was with them. I don't know if I'll ever find that again.
I look to my right and see the pavement beneath the plane blur, then to my left where Kaelie sits with her nose stuck to her Kindle. She really is an amazing person, and I'm lucky to have her. She's my best friend and knows all of my story, but loves me anyway. My hand falls on top of the pocket of my jeans, where the object I have hidden there burns a whole in it. I'm not sure if I'm ready for this, but it seems like the logical thing to do. It's the next step in our relationship, and for as much of my shit as she's put up with, I feel obligated to do it.
I sigh and lean my head back. My mind hasn't shut off at all in the last week. I keep telling myself that there is nothing left for me in New York, but I feel like I'm leaving them behind. I'll never be able to sit on the grass next to my father's stone and talk to him, tell him about what's going on in my life. I'll never again sift through the dirt to find the shiniest rock to let my mother know I was there, that I hadn't forgotten, and it bothered me. I suddenly started to feel claustrophobic and had to take deep breaths before my panic fully set in.
"Jace?" Kaelie's hand finds my knee and I turn to meet her worried gaze. "Are you O.K?"
"I'll be fine," I nod and force the best smile I can. The plane lurches up and my ears pop as we ascend into the air. There's no turning back now. I have to accept my decision because the plane isn't going to turn back just because I want it to. I lace my fingers with Kaelie's and squeeze, trying to reassure her that I'm O.K. and she smiles back accepting my answer. I try to sleep on the plane but I'm too tall and my legs are cramped so it hurts my neck to lay my head back. I tear through a magazine trapped in the pouch of the seat in front of me instead.
"Something to drink or a bag of peanuts maybe?" I look up to find the blond from earlier with a smile from ear to ear. She's prettier up close and I pause looking for the right words to say.
"I'm fine, thank you," Kaelie answers and goes back to her book.
"How about you?" The flight attendant bats her eyes and smiles wider, if that's possible.
"Something strong," I say. "Jim, Jack, Johnny, or Jose, I'm not picky." Her smile falters just a tad and from the corner of my eye I see that Kaelie's eyes are the size of silver dollars. She stares at me as the blond hands me a small bottle with tan liquid and a glass with ice in it. I thank her and she moves on.
"Jace," Kaelie hisses.
"What?" I don't look at her while I unscrew the cap and poor the liquor into the glass. It's two shots at most, but it'll be enough to give me a warm buzz that will hopefully help with my sleep issue. Just to let you know, I'm not an alcoholic. I rarely drink, now anyways. Kaelie isn't a fan and I manage to keep the boozing to a minimum.
"Never mind," she shakes her head and I take a sip. It's Jack and it burns my throat on the way down. I suck my teeth and let out a hiss until I can feel it hit my stomach. God I needed that. The rest of the trip is quiet except for the crying baby two rows back that the mother gave up on about an hour ago. Funny how the strange encounters in life can help you make huge decisions for your future. Just by being on this plane and hearing that child cry, I have decided that I don't want to have children.
The best part of the plane ride was seeing the sunset amongst the clouds. It's so much prettier up here than it is from the ground. The colors are vibrant as orange turns to pink and pink to purple. We land at the Great Falls International Airport about five hours after leaving New York even though the clock tells me it was only three. This airport is much smaller than the one back home and it doesn't take long to get our bags and head toward this new world I'm entering. There are three people standing in front of the door with a sign that says: WELCOME HOME KAELIE AND JACE! It warms my heart that I've been included, and for the first time since sitting in the airport back home, I feel like I may have made the right choice.
Kaelie drops her bag at my feet and hurls herself into her mother's arms. I'd guess the woman to be in her fifties but she doesn't look a day over thirty. Her hair is a bright blond glow that reflects perfectly in the sunlight, just like Kaelie's, and she's skinny as a rail. I almost don't see the tall man with salt and pepper hair and broad shoulders approach me as I stand there trying to bask in the glow of her family, but it just doesn't quite reach me. His hand claps my shoulder and he says, "You must be Jace." I smile and nod.
"Yes, Sir." He holds his hand out to me and I take it.
"I'm Jefferson Bennett, Kaelie's father, you can call me Jeff. I've heard a lot about you. I'm glad we finally get to meet." Our hands move up and down as I search for the next thing to say. I feel like we're making a business deal and I'm not sure why.
"I'm glad too. Kaelie talks about you guys all the time. I'm just happy I'll have faces to put to all the names now." His arm stretches across my shoulders as he guides me closer to Kaelie, her mother, and the third person, who I'd imagine is the big brother she always complained about.
"Jace, meet my wife, Evelyn," Kaelie pulls back and her mom steps forward to wrap me in a hug that feels familiar but I can't pinpoint why.
"Call me Evy, Jace. It's so good to meet you." I smile and nod because I don't know what else to do.
"And this is our son, Jefferson Jr." It shouldn't surprise me that he named his son after himself. Kaelie's brother is almost my height and his hair is sandy brown.
"Call me Jay," he says and holds out his hand. "With two Jefferson's in the house it gets a little confusing." I wanna look at him and say, "No shit" but that wouldn't be right so I chuckle. Jay and I have one thing I common that I know of: Football, but it's not a topic I wanna drudge up at the moment. Jeff and Jay take our bags and usher us out to their family vehicle, which just happens to be a Cadillac Escalade. The air out here is so crisp and clean it nearly hurts my chest, but I love it.
"Better get comfortable, we've got about an hour drive home," Jeff calls back to us after buckling his seatbelt. An hour? I was never told about an hour drive after a five hour flight. Kaelie is wedged between me and Jay looking less than enthused. I've never seen cows grazing in the field before or horses running wild with their manes and tails flying in the wind. Those are things you just don't see in Brooklyn. The closest I've ever been to a horse was the carousel in Astroland on Coney Island.
The mountains rolled over the countryside in a vision I'd only seen in pictures. The soft green of the grass meeting the hard gray of the mountains, and the fluffy clouds hovering over white mountain peaks was a beautiful sight. I was vaguely aware of Kaelie's head resting on my shoulder as I peered out the window. Gone were the skyscrapers and taxi cabs, to be replaced with rolling rocks dotted with shrubbery. I must have dozed off at some point because Kaelie is shaking me awake and the Cadillac is no longer moving.
I get out and stretch my legs. I've sat so long that all I really want to do is go for a five mile run at this point. The house in front of me reminds me of one that might be found on an old eighteen hundreds cotton plantation in New Orleans, only much, much newer. It's white and the twin spires on either side of the great oak door hold up a balcony. A porch surrounds the entire front and it wouldn't surprise me if it continued around the back and spread out into a patio. I'm flanked by Kaelie and Evy as I'm led into the house.
It's nothing short of amazing inside. In the foyer, mosaic tiles line the floor in the pattern of the sun and moon and a giant crystal chandelier hangs overhead. To my left is a mahogany door that I'm told leads to the kitchen, to my right the space opens up into a grand living room decorated with over -sized furniture and T.V. covering one whole wall. Ahead of me is a double staircase leading to what I assume are the bedrooms and nestled between each path leading up is the patio door. I shouldn't be surprised that there is a pool out there. I feel a little as if I've stepped into the Stepford house.
"Come on, let's take our stuff up and then get some food," Kaelie tugs my arms and I stumble for the steps but manage to keep up with her. Inside her room, which by the way, is bigger than our apartment back in New York, there is a queen sized, four poster, canopy bed with an oak nightstand of each side. The dresser to match the nightstands sits against the wall across from the bed. "This door leads to the en suit bathroom," she says pointing to the right, "and that one," now pointing to the left, "Is the walk in closet."
I stand there with my mouth open. Sure, I expected a nice house, but nothing of this magnitude. This house had to be worth…Millions. As I said before, I knew her family had money, but not on this scale. I could do this. I could live here and call this home, right? I was sure as hell gonna try. Kaelie stepped up to me and linked her fingers behind my back with a smile. "You'll love it here, I just know you will. We won't have to stay here long. We'll find our own place soon. I just want to get settled in first, make sure you get comfortable at the bank and I'll start at the real-estate firm with daddy on Monday."
"I don't wanna rely on your dad for everything, Kaelie."
"I know, this is just until we get on our feet." We'd had this discussion over and over before we left. I wanted to make my own way and not ride on the backs of our father's money. Kaelie had defeated me with the comment 'a little help never hurt anybody.' Did I blame her? No, but I didn't want to be in debt to anyone either.
"I think we'll throw a party!" Evy said in a sing-song voice. "Everyone in town will be happy you're finally home, Kay. And Jace, you'll get to meet the most upstanding people in the area." She winked and leaned more over the door frame as she whispered, "It's good for business."
"Thanks, Mom." Kaelie smiled and pushed her out the door. Turning to me she said, "Are you hungry? We could go to the kitchen and have Murielle make some sandwiches."
"Yeah, she's the maid," Kaelie shrugs.
"Your parents have a maid?"
"Of course." To see the look on her face and know that she felt there was nothing wrong with what she was saying made my stomach churn.
"I'm tired, I think I'll just lie down," I say. She smiles and kisses me on the cheek before leaving me alone in her room. I let myself fall onto the bed with a gust of air rushing out of my body and run my fingers through my hair. What have I gotten myself into? This was not at all the life I expected to get wrapped up in. Sure, it's not a bad life, but it's not the one I had planned. I don't want someone else's parents planning out my day, or dictating where I work and who I associate with. I want to make my own footprint in the sand, be my own person. That's what my dad would have wanted. He never would have accepted me into the company without first thinking that I could pave my own destiny. I found myself spiraling into sleep and being haunted by nightmares. I felt as if I was locked in a cage and being suffocated by life.
Alrighty...good start? Lemme know!
So im going to do things a little different with the way i give out snippets with this one. The chapters will be named after country songs. The first reviewer to give me the artist that sang the song will get a preview from the next chapter in a PM. For this first one i want the artist who sang the TITLE of the story...The House That Built Me...AND the chapter title, It Doesn't Get Any Countrier Than This. GO!