Chapter One.........(this story takes place in late August of '96)

I walked through my house, bored, occasionally running into a random wall. It was a boring summer in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. My older brother was out with some friends and my little sister was at a friend house. My friends either had gone to a summer camp of somesort or gone on a vacation. My mom and dad, being the boring people that they are, decided that we should stay home this summer. Our yearly trip to Vermont had been canceled. Well, kinda. This time, Vermont was coming to us, in a manner of speaking. My cousin Katrina, was going to visit, she lived in Vermont, and was almost like my sister. We always hung out. My name is Bob Jones. I know, it sounds foreign, but my parents loved the name. The other members of my family (aunts, uncles, ect) still had a little problem pronouncing it, but I liked the name. I have dirty blond hair, green eyes, I just turned 13 in mid-August, 5'4. Like many teens, I had the most annoying contraption known to adolecents, braces. Katrina was supposed to be here in a week. I had to admit that she was pretty. With her short brown hair, brown eyes, perfect teeth, perfect body, guys were drooling over her. If you put her next to me, a guy would probably pick her, not that I really cared. I didn't need a boyfriend anytime soon. I walked around a corner, almost running into my mom, Eileen. She was almost 45, kinda short at 5'2, green eyes with a big line of brown in her left eye, and greying brown hair.

"Oh hi Kate" she said, calling me by the nickname that I hated, but answered to anyway,"Can you pick up Jewel at Jessica's? I would really appreciate it."

"Sure mom, whatever, it will give me sumpin' to do" I said putting my shoes on. My littles sis Jewel was nine years old. She had sholder length light brown hair, blue eyes, 4'6, and had a gap in her mouth from a lost tooth. Jessica Hanson was her best friend, seven years old, blond hair, and blue eyes. Jessica had spent the night at our house a few times, where they spent most of the night giggling and trying to scare me by knocking at my bedroom door and running away, pretending that they were ghosts.

"Go away and go to sleep!" I would yell at them.

I walked down the street, humming a nonsense tune, and kicking any rock that crossed my path. The area that I lived in was pretty wooded, lots of trees. I got to the Hanson house. Diana and Walker Hanson had six kids. My mom gave up at three kids. I never met them all. The oldest hung out with my brother, but I never really met him. There was Jessica's little sister Avery, who was five. I had seen her a few times. The rest I had never really seen at all. There were always a few NOT home. I climbed the steps to the porch and rang the doorbell. I heard a stampede from inside. Jessica answered the door, Jewel was behind her, followed by Avery, and a little boy who looked two years old.

"Hey Jessie" I said to the nine year old,"It's time for Jewel to come home" I looked at my sister, she stuck her tounge out at me.

"Get your stuff squirt, mom wants you home."

"But I don't want to go home!" Jewel whined, but walked down the hall anyway to get her bag, that usually contained Barbies. I used to have Barbies, until the little squirt was born. I found the best ways to recycle them. "Accidently" dropping them in the garbage disposial, tearing them apart, throwing them over ther fence next door, where a few 'friendly' Rottwielers happened to roam. It was always fun to watch what happened to them. I think there is still part of a Barbie leg in the Keeners backyard, where the friendly dogs lived.

"Jessica!" a voice shouted from upstairs "What did mom tell you about opening the door without a grownup around? It could be a stranger to kill you or something."

"It's not a stranger!" Jessica answered,"It's just snot-face!" Nice kid, isn't she? She was probably mad that Jewel was leaving.

"Well tell Zac's friend that he's not home. He's at the store with mom and dad!" I heard shoes coming down the stairs. A boy, who looked 13, with sholder length blond hair came clomping down the steps. He caught sight of me and blushed.

"Sorry, I, uh, thought you were someone else. Can I help you?" he asked.

"My sister's here, I came to pick her up" I said looking past him, into the hall.

"Oh yeah, Jewel. She was pretty good today. My parents put me in charge of babysitting for the afternoon"

"Sounds like fun. I have trouble babysitting the little troublemaker for five minutes."

"Why? Isn't she always the angel she is here?" he grinned.

"Hardly" I said. Jewel appeared in the doorway.

"I'm ready to go" she grabbed my hand and dragged me down te front steps.

"Bye everyone!" Jewel yelled and turned to wave when we got to the end of the driveway.

After we got home, Jewel made a beeline for the kitchen and I went upstairs. I hear whispering from inside of my room. I slammed the door open.

Two boys sat on my bed, one was my brother, the other, I didn't recognize. My brother Samuel was 16, 5'10, had grey-blue eyes, bright curly orange hair and a orange goatee. The other boy looked about 5'8, had long dirty blond hair, and brown eyes. Sam was hiding something behind his back.

"What are you doing in my room?" I asked, glaring at the two.

"We, were, uh, um, doing, well" Sam stuttered.

"Okay stupid" I said, stepping towards him and holding my hand out, "Hand it over." He sheepishly placed a notebook in my hand. I immedietly took it and wacked him over the head with it.

"Hello stupid! This is my journal, aka PRIVATE property! Do I go reading your journal? Huh? Do I?"

"Hey! How'd you know I had a journal?" Sam gave me an evil look.

"Mom foundit in your hamper when she did laundry. I think she read it, but I KNOW I didn't, and I KNOW I'm embarrassing you in front of your little friend, so get out of my room before I hit you with the dictionary." I pointed to the huge hard cover dictionary on my desk.

"Okay, okay!" Sam said and pushed his friend out the door and left. Not fifteen seconds later, he stuck his head back in the door.

"I do agree that a boy would pick Katrina over you. She's better looking." He had taken his head out the door and closed it just as my notebook crashed against the door.

"Brothers" I sighed angrily.

"hey Ike!" Taylor yelled at his older brother who had just stepped inside.

"What do you want Tay?" Isaac hung his leather jacket on the door of the closet.

"Why have you never mentioned a word to me about Sam's little sister?"

"Jewel? Why? You babysat her today, don't you remember?"

"No, no, no, no, not Jewel! HER older sister." Taylor was getting frustrated with his brother.

Isaac blushed, remembering that incident he had with Sam's 'little' sister.

"She's just not really important, that's why I never mentioned her."

"What's her name?"

"I dunno, come weird name. I couldn't pronounce it if I tried."

"Does she have a nickname?" Taylor was surprised by his brother's stupidity.

"Yeah, Kate or something" Isaac paused, "Why would you want to know?"

"I'm just wondering. I met her today when she picked up Jewel"

"Okay, whatever" Isaac headed for his room which he, Taylor and their 10 year old brother Zac, shared.

I woke up the next morning to knocking on my bedroom door. I dragged myself out of bed and opened the door. No one there.

"Stop doing that!"I shouted. A round of giggles came from Jewel's room down the hall. I went back into my room and looked at my big Swatch on the wall. It was noon. I should get up. I changed into some Levi's wide legs jeans that were two sizes to big. I put on an undershirt, which was a hand-me-down from Sam. I pulled my hair into a sloppy ponytail and put some socks on. I opened the door to find Jewel, posed to knock, with Jessica standing a few feet away. Jewel shrieked and ran down the hall, with Jessica right at her heels. I went downstairs, into the livingroom and flipped on the tv. After an hour of channel surfing, I decided that I was hungry. I went to the kitchen and grabbed an apple-cinnimon Pop-Tart from the cobbord. I didn't bother to toast it. I went walking through the house again, running into walls and looking at the pictures that happened to be hanging on them. As I was passing the front door, the doorbell rang. I answered it. The boy I had met at the Hanson house was standing on the front porch. I swallowed the peice of Pop-Tart I had in my mouth, and opened the screen door.

"May I help you?" I asked.

He absentmindedly scratched his leg,"Uh yeah, my little sister's here. My mom wanted me to pick her up. We have to go somewhere."

"Yeah, sure, uh, would you like to come in?"


He stepped into the foyer. I closed to door after him.

"Jewel! It's time for Jessica to go home!" I yelled up the stairs. I heard two voices upstairs shouting "No!"

"Like NOW!" I continued to yell,"Don't make me come up there!"

"Hold on a minute" Jessica's voice drifted down the stairs.

There was an uncomfortable silence as the boy and I waited for them. He was 5'5, and had blue eyes. I raised my hand to push a strand of lost hair from my ponytail over my ear just as the boy did the same thing. We let out a nervous, insecure laugh.

"I never really introduced myself, I'm Taylor" he said and held out his hand.

"I'm Bob, nice to meet you." I shook his hand.

"Ooooooo" we both heard giggling. I let go of Taylor's hand and looked up the stairs where the two girls were standing.

Taylor and I both blushed, Jessica climbed down the stairs and took Taylor's hand.

"Okay, let's go Tay-Tay" she said and waved to my sister. Jewel waved back. Taylor opened the door and walked out onto the porch. I was about to close the door when he suddenly spun around.

"Maybe I'll see ya around" he said.

"Yeah, maybe" I replied and closed the door.

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