Jasper Bell was not having a good day. Really, he wasn’t having a good year but this day was pretty bad in its own right, the reason being that today was moving day. Any seventeen year old who was being forced to move away from his hometown – the very town he had been born and raised in – and leave behind his friends to move to another state, start over in another school for his last year. The reason being his new stepdad had gotten a job offer, and with his mother about to bring the eighth child of the family into this world – the old house could barely hold all seven of them, eight was too much – then the sudden job offer was a blessing. At least to the rest of the family.
Sleeping on Jasper’s shoulder was a small pure black kitten, face pressed into his neck and almost fully hidden under his shoulder length black hair. They had been on the road for nearly five hours and it was only thirty minutes ago that the little devil had finally stopped screaming and meowing long enough to climb up Jasper’s side to fall asleep on his shoulder. Jasper reached up to lightly run two fingers over the top of Bagheera’s head, careful not to wake the other in case he woke back up and started screaming again.
Turning his head Jasper stared at the profile of his stepdad, Jim. He was a man in his prime, mid-thirty’s and his hair was only just starting to gain a little gray in it but it was hidden under his blonde hair. He wasn’t really a bad looking man, but he was very different from his father. Jim’s twin sons, Kane and Rick, had his blonde hair and brown eyes. At the age of fifteen they had spent the most time with their mother, had been aware of what happened when she had left them at the age of eleven. They weren’t old enough to accept the fact that she wasn’t coming back and they weren’t young enough to accept Jasper’s mother, Lilith, as their father’s new wife. They still held firm to the hope that their own mother was going to come back for them and had been the most upset when their father told them he was marrying Lilith. At the moment the twins were sitting behind him in the SUV, talking to each other in some weird twin language that no one understood besides the two of them, which Jasper thought was rather clever of them since it was a great way to talk about someone without them knowing.
Beside them was their ten year old brother, Travis. He had been six when his mother left, could sort of remember her but not so much. He was quick to accept Lilith as his mother though, almost as fast as Brittany had. Brittany was Jim’s only daughter, a young child only four years old. Their mother had left only a month before her first birthday so she didn’t remember her mother at all, Lilith was the only mother she would know most likely. Travis and Brittany had more of their mothers look, curly brown hair and button noses but with blue eyes like their father. Truthfully Lilith could pass as their mother; she had the same brown hair and blue eyes.
Jasper was the only one who didn’t really seem to belong in this picture. He had his own father’s black hair, long and light, and blue eyes as well but even they weren’t the same as the rest. They were a deeper, rich color with two golden rings in them, one along his pupils and the other on the outer rim. It was a very odd and rare coloring. He was skinny for a seventeen year old but he was stronger than he looked, had a little muscle on him but not too much with almost feminine curves that made him seem like a fragile being but he could throw a mean right hook if he wanted. He was faster than he looked though, more than once he had been told he could try out for track at his old school but he had been happy enough to be in the choir. He liked to sing and he was good at it too.
With a sigh Jasper turned his head to look back out of the window, one hand still gently petting Bagheera’s tiny head. He was happy his mother had found someone to love her again, really he was. When their father had died it had been rough on both of them, his mother never stopped crying and Jasper found himself doing anything he could in order not to do the same. Over the past year, just a couple months after his sixteenth birthday, Jasper had slowly found himself being forgotten by his mother as she struggled to try and take care of her new husband’s children. He tried to tell himself it was alright, Lilith should be happy and loved. For several months Jasper slowly faded into the back ground, his mother no longer came to his school concerts and he stopped telling her about them. Most of her time was filled up with the twins’ basketball, play dates for Brittany and Travis’ boy scouts. He was seventeen; it shouldn’t bother him as much as it should. This was the age when he should be getting ready to move out on his own, find a job and start his own life but truthfully he was angry. Angry at being forgotten, angry at the twins for not liking his mother, angry at his mother for not having spoken up about not moving and angry at Jim for saying they should move at all. Angry, and lonely.
The SUV turned off the road they had been traveling on, behind them the moving truck that had been following them turned as well to follow them. They were now on a private road that led to their soon to be new home, an old country farm house with enough room for all of them. An agreement had already broken out between Jim and Lilith about it, the city was ten miles away so Jim wanted to find a small apartment in the city so he could get to work on time. This would leave Lilith alone with the children to take care of them; it wasn’t something she was happy about. Jasper wasn’t too happy about either, living in the country with nothing but forest around them wasn’t the best way for him to make friends and to find hangout places. And since Jim was only going to buy Lilith a car of her own so she could do the shopping that meant Jasper couldn’t drive off – he couldn’t drive anyway and it would be a large waste of gas to even try -. At long last the SUV rolled to a stop in front of a two story house that was to be their new home and Jasper stared at it. It was nothing sort of a dump, paint chipped and a front porch nothing more than rotting wood. He truthfully didn’t want to see the inside of the house; he doubted that it was any better than the outside.
Reaching up Jasper carefully removed the black kitten off his shoulder, pulling his claws out of his shoulder as Bagheera tried to hold onto him, and placed him back into his little carrier before opening the door to step out. The gravel crunched under his tennis shoes as he walked toward the porch, stopping just in front of the first step as he stared at it before turning to look at what seemed like an endless forest around them. The air smelled like wet dirt and pollen, a faint sweetness in the air from the lingering flowers. It was only a couple days after school had let out for summer break and summer was in full swing with heat waves and little rain. Even though he had only just left the cool SUV he was already starting to feel the heat of the sun above him, his jeans felt like it was trapping the heat making it worth. Even the short white sleeve t-shirt didn’t seem to help cool him down. Jasper watched the rest of his ‘family’ pile out of the SUV and move around back to the moving truck, the movers themselves already having opened it up to start on their work. With a sigh Jasper lowered himself down to sit on the steps leading to the front door, placing Bagheera’s carrier on his lap as he stared out at the nothing around them. This was going to take some getting used too.