Used to be the Youngest
Message for Readers
First of all, thank you so much for having an interest in this book!
Just wanted to say that this book is not my top priority right now, but it can be!! If you guys favorite and comment on this book, I will make sure to add chapters regularly!!
Thank you so much, and if you like this book go check out my others:
Just a Little Romance
If We Survive
If We Make it Out
Hi. My name is Josephine Marline Denise, but I liked to be called Jo. Now you may say you have a big family. I’ve heard it all the time. ‘I have two siblings and three dogs!’ or ‘I have five sets of grandparents!’ Yeah right, what a big family. If you think that’s big be ready to have your mind blown.
But let’s start at the beginning.
My mom’s name is Lydia Marline Hexer and my dad’s name is Robert-everyone calls him, Gabe-Marcus Denise. (And it’s Den-ISS, not some ‘80s girl game). They met each other in high school and were high school sweethearts. My dad proposed to her when they were both nineteen at the local stargazing park. (Yes my town of Partridge Hill has a star gazing park.) They got married and traveled all over the world. We have a whole wall in our living room filled with pictures of their adventures. Thailand, Tokyo, New York, the Grand Canyon, a hidden cave in some island or another. My parents traveled for five years before they settled down back in Partridge Hill. They finally had a kid. My older brother Josh. Then my mom got a job as a doctor, and my dad as a lawyer. My mom’s two years in college(she went to college at seventeen and got married two years later at nineteen) spent all her time in the hospital, staying up as late as possible. The college was so impressed they took four years off of her training to be a doctor. And my dad being a lawyer, had taken any jury case he could throughout his later teen and young adult years, and aced all his tests for being a lawyer in the first year, they said he could be one, as long as he took a placement test, every three weeks.
So, they had Josh and great paying jobs, but then had another kid… and another… and another… and another. Until they moved out of their teeny house, and built a new one. It was them and my five sisters and brothers. But of course, my parents had to go and find an adorable baby in foster care and took her in. That’s my older sister Belle. My parents always told me she was pretty rough the first few years, but now I can say she’s probably my favorite sister.
Oh yeah, I have more siblings. Let’s start with my oldest.
My oldest sibling is my brother, Josh, who’s twenty-five. He got married to my sister-in-law, Juliet, and I love her so much!! They have my favorite-and only-nephew Joel. After Josh, my parents had the first set of twins Maxie and Sal(her real name is Sally though). These two are joined at the hip and do EVERYTHING together. They’re twenty-three and live in the same apartment!! Then a year later came Joel,22, Belle(my favorite sister, who is adopted) twenty-one, then the triplets, Minnie, Max, and Cha Cha(her real name is Charlie, and these kids were not all in the same year). A year later came Zoe, and nine months after that Lola, and those two are joined at the hip, and aren’t even real twins!!
So those are all my siblings in college, or out of the house. The next-oh I don’t know seventeen kids-live at home. We have the second set of twins Ayden and Hallie. They are the most popular seniors in all of Partridge Hills High School. There was a snow day, and hundreds of boys lined up on our lawn, asking Hallie out. That was a lot of paperwork, especially after dad got out his shotgun…
Anywho,then we have Hannah and Hax, both sixteen and born eight months apart. Then we have my family best friend Hale. He is fifteen and has always had my back for everything. His twin sister is Daniella, but she won’t allow herself to be called that. She prefers Elle. My parents had me, Jo and then my younger brother Paxton(thirteen years old and a pain in the rear end). I don’t know why they even keep him. Then we have Jade, and don’t even get me started on that twelve year old tornado of sass and attitude. I mean yeah sure she’s adopted, but she’s been with us for a year, and still puts worms in my underwear! (long story). Then we have another set of twins Bobby and Georgie who are partners in crime. No seriously, I will stay at a hotel in the next county over when it’s April Fool’s day. Then we have Hatcher who is my favorite younger brother, then the next set of twins Lucy and Pepper. I sometimes can’t stand those two. They both are missing two teeth, right in the front, and wear tutus and have cute round glasses and freckles, making them cuter than puppies cuddling baby ducklings. And finally we have my little brother Matt. He is three, and an absolute tornado of a mess.
And that’s my family. Eleven boys, fifteen girls, seventeen living under one house, eight in college, plus two dogs, a cat, a hamster, goldfish, two rats, three lizards, and an annoying talking parrot.
And as you can imagine my life is crazier than a monster truck rally with fans hopped up on six cans of Red Bull. So this is my story. The story of my family and our lives throughout a whole year, from September back to September.
So get ready world. It’s about to get crazy.
The First Day of School
My alarm buzzed, signaling for me to wake up. I groaned, but then remembered something-I was in a family of sixteen other hungry children, and had to get up before all the food was gone.
I looked at my clock, seeing it was 5:30, giving me a half an hour to get ready. No one knew my secret morning routine. I got up a half hour early, quickly put on my clothes, got ready in the bathroom, then went and read for ten minutes.
I settled into bed with my book, and after a few minutes, looked at my clock. One minute until the craziness began.
Ding! My mom’s voice came on my intercom.
“Let’s go crew! First day of School! Now in an orderly fashion… BREAKFAST!” I immediately heard all my siblings downstairs fall out of their beds, scrabbling to get to the food. I rushed into my closet, sliding away a pile of clothes, and opened the secret door into the Super Secret Siblings Society (Quadruple S) headquarters. I moved aside a poster, casting it on the floor, and slid down the slide. There was a secret room in my closet, and inside that a secret slide. I only knew about the slide, but my brothers, Hatcher and Hale, knew about the room, but more on that later.
I zipped down the slide, landing into the ball pit in our living room. I flung open the door to my parents room, flung open the other door, and ran out into the dining room. My sister, Hannah scrambled down the stairs, right behind me.
“How is she always down her first?” Hannah whined. I smiled, and got in line at the counter. We have two kitchens in my house. They’re side by side, complete with a conveyor belt(My uncle George made that), stove, fridge, and dishwasher.
“Morning Jo! Today we have french toast, or waffles with a side of bacon or eggs, or just cereal,” my dad said. I smiled, looking at his blue eyes, and salt and pepper gray hair.
“Two waffles, bacon and eggs!” I exclaimed. He smiled, piling it on a plate.
“Okay, please proceed to drinks, and the pick up counter! NEXT!” he exclaimed. I heard more clomping down the stairs, and went to the other kitchen, or as we call it, “The Drink Counter.”
“Hey Jo, ready for freshman year?” my fifteen year old brother, Hale, asked. I smiled.
“You know it!” I cried, high fiving him, as he got in line.
“ZOOOOOM! BEEEP! BEEEP! WATCH OUT!!!” my three year old brother, Mattie yelled. He ran around with underwear on his head in a sparkly pink tutu.
“MOOOOOM!!! MATTIE TOOK OUR TUTU!!!!” my twin sisters Lucy and Pepper screamed in unison, scrambling down the stairs. Mattie stuck out his tongue.
“How rude!” Lucy cried.
“Let’s get ‘em!” Pepper agreed. Mattie screamed and ran around the table, the two girls chasing him.
“Hey honey,” my mom greeted, when I came to the counter. I smiled.
“This morning we have a strawberry banana shake, a chocolate shake, or orange juice,” my mom said. My mom’s brown eyes went over to Lucy, and Pepper, chasing Mattie with hockey sticks.
“LUCY! PEPPER! CUT THAT OUT! MATTIE GIVE YOUR SISTERS THEIR TUTU BACK!!” she yelled.
“But MOM!” Lucy and Pepper whine in unison.
“No buts! Mattie now,” she ordered with a glare. Mattie pouted, taking off the tutu revealing… well you get the idea. Those who were downstairs-Lucy, Pepper, me, Hallie, Hannah, Hallie, and Hatcher-froze. Then there was a series of laughing and ‘ewww!’ sounds.
“Ugh! Mattie go put on some clothes!” my mom exclaimed. Mattie threw the tutu at Lucy and Pepper, causing them to squeal, and ran to his room.
“MOOM!! THAT WAS OUR FAVORITE TUTU!!!” they pouted. My mom just shrugged.
“We’ll get a new one. Oh, here’s your food Jo,” my mom handed me a plate with my food(from the conveyor belt) and a chocolate shake. I didn’t even tell her I wanted one, she just knew.
That’s another thing I love about my mom. She always just knows. No matter the situation 99.99% of the time she knows what you need or how to help. I sat down with my plate of food, tying up my wavy brown hair(like my mom’s) and taking a bite of my waffles. Mmmmm. Perfect.
My dad makes the best breakfast. It can be anything from waffles to omelettes to yogurt parfaits, he’s the best. I heard stomping and yelling upstairs. Ugh. Here we go. There came Paxton and Hatcher, with colorful bandanas wrapped around their heads. They had on ripped up tank tops, and crossbones on their shoulders in marker. The symbol of ‘The Boys.” My older brother Hax who is sixteen, but acts like a four year old, made up a group that only my brothers-some of them-were allowed into. He called them “The Boys.” At first it was just him, Ayden, and Hale. But then Hale and Ayden dropped out, so it was just him, until Paxton and Hatcher came into the picture.
“I HAI HAI HAI!!!” a voice yelled, clomping down the stairs. There ran down my older brother Hax, yelling with a bundle of blankets on their shoulders. Actually it was my eleven year old brother Bobby. Poor Bobby was wrapped and tied up in blankets, screaming. They set him on the ground, and Paxton and Hatcher scurried up to him like apes.
“Ee oo ah!! Is this it?” Hatcher chattered, hopping around Bobby. Bobby screamed again. Hax got down on his hands and knees.
“It is. Now to earn your badge, untie him,” Hax smiled evilly.
“MOOM! MOOM!! HEEELP!! I DON’T HAVE ON CLOT-” Bobby yelped, but Hax shoved an apple in his mouth. Paxton went to untie the binds, ignoring Bobby’s yelps.
“DON’T YOU DARE!” my dad yelled, jumping the counter. He swooped up Paxton, cast him aside, and picked up Bobby.
“Thanks Daddy!” Bobby exclaimed, kissing him, and pushing his glasses up his nose. My dad smiled, replying,
“Of course. Now run along and put on some clothes.” My dad set him down, and Bobby rushed up stairs, blanket dragging behind him. My dad turned to my brothers, arms folded. My sisters came and sat down by me.
“What do you think he’s gonna do?” Hallie asked, taking a bite of eggs.
“I bet you he makes them clean all the animal cages for a month!” Lucy exclaimed. Her and Pepper turned towards each other letting out an “EWWW!” That was kinda their catch phrase.
“Jo, how about you?” Hannah asked. I shrugged.
“He’ll probably say ‘great prank, save it for the War’, and then punish them with dishes.” My dad moved his hands to his hips.
“Now boys. That was a great execution of the prank, but don’t do that again. Dishes for the week.” My brothers groaned, and I got high fives from my sisters. Soon, all my siblings-Ayden, Hallie, Hannah,Hax,Elle, Hale,Paxton,Jade,Bobby,Georgie,Hatcher,Lucy, Pepper and Mattie-were seated, and eating. We talked the chatter rising above any sound ever created, until we heard the vroomp vroooomp! of my dad’s blow horn. We all turned to listen, silence falling over us.
“Now today is the first day of school. And as you know that means one thing. Celebration Dinner. But, this can only happen if we all get home right after school get on good and clean clothes,” my dad glared at my brothers, mainly Hax, “and are downstairs seated at this table by 4:30.” He looked at each of us, to see if it registered. He gestured for my mom to take the floor. She stood up, and grabbed her handy dandy clipboard. She walked around handing out our schedules for the week, saying,
“Okay here’s who will be in what car this week. To get to school,Hannah and Hax you have the SUV. Ayden and Hallie you guys have the truck. Elle, Hale, Jade, and Jo you will be in the Challenger with me. Paxton, Jade and Georgie, you guys have the bus, and finally Hatcher, Lucy, Pepper, and Mattie you're with dad in the van. Is everyone clear so far?” We all nodded. Now for any other family, it’d be an overwhelming explosion of too much information, but my mom continued.
“For pick-up; Hannah, and Hax, all week in the Truck. I will be picking up Elle, Hale, Jade, and Jo with the Challenger. Ayden you’ll need to carpool with some buddies like last year. Hallie will need the SUV.”
“But mom!” Ayden interrupted, but she just kept talking. Mattie stuck his tongue out at Lucy and Pepper, then threw eggs at them.
“Paxton, Jade, and Georgie you guys will have the bus and the rest of you have dad. Jade, and Hannah you have your auditions for the next two months after school. Hale, Hax, and Ayden you guys have football, and the rest of you come right home. Okay let’s move out!” she announced. We all scrambled around, collecting those who would be driving us to school.
“Hannah, come on! You don’t need a dumb book!” Hallie cried, pulling Hannah’s arm. Hannah looked offended.
“Excuse Little Women is a life-changing piece of literature! And you’re not even driving me!” she rebuked and scrambled upstairs. Hannah was the bookworm of the family. As she ran upstairs, I noticed a red mark on her neck. I was going to ask her but was pulled away by Hale.
Hallie rolled, her eyes, grabbed her bags and pulled Hax out the door.
“Mattie, get your pants on!” my dad cried, running after Mattie. I zig-zagged through all my siblings to our Bag Room. I scanned the cubbies finding my name. I grabbed my jacket bag, and lunch money. I opened the door, and hopped into the Challenger. The house door flung open sending out all my siblings. My nine year old brother, Hatcher, was pummeling Lucy and Pepper with Nerf bullets. They ran around our mess of a yard screaming. I just shook my head laughing. After them Hallie, and Ayden came out. Hallie was blabbing on the phone. She shrieked and dropped it when Hatcher ran around her, shooting her with bullets.
“MOM!” she screamed.
“Honey, just get in the car. Hatcher go to the bus stop now,” she snapped. Hatcher ran to the bus, followed by my other siblings. The rest of us got into the car.
“Elle?” my mom asked.
“Still here,” she grumbled. My mom sighed.
“Right here mom!” She smiled.
“Here.” My mom put the car into the reverse, and pulled out of the driveway. I sighed. We went down the street, and I laid my head against the window and watched the trees go by.
“Ready to be a big high schooler?” Hale asked, with a half smile. I turned to him, readjusting my bag.
“Hopefully,” was my only reply. He put his arm around my shoulder, and I laid my head on his.
I better rewind, and will be explaining a few things. I don’t want any of you being all confused.
I want to start with ‘The Big Book of Denise Family Stories.’ I know it has nothing to do with high school… I mean I guess it does. It’s this thick book that has been in our family since Josh was ten. He found one of my mom’s scrapbooks, and took it, hiding it under his bed. And one day he had a really bad day, so he wrote down everything and gave advice on how to fix it. And every since then it has been a secret book for all the siblings. It has a table of contents and everything. It has helped us all a lot.
Then we have the family best friend(FBF). And mine is Hale. Hale and I were always inseparable. My mom loved to tell the story about how I was crying and he climbed in my crib and laid with me.
There’s a lot more-The Birthday rush is our biggest, Find Waldo, Boys vs. Girl War and tons more.
“You’ll do great!” he exclaimed as we pulled into the school parking lot, breaking my thoughts. I looked at the three story building towering over me. I took a deep breath.
“Okay everyone out!” my mom ordered. We all hopped out of the Challenger one by one.
“Okay have a great first day! Jo don’t be nervous! Elle, Hale if your sister needs help, help her,” she added, glaring at Elle. Elle just flashed her signature smile. We all walked across the parking lot. Me, Elle, and Hale.
“Ready lil’ sis?” Hale asked. I nodded. Elle ruffled my hair, wasting a half hour of the work to make it look like this.
“Elle!” I groaned, trying to fix it. She just laughed. Hale rolled his eyes.
“HALE!!!” a voice yelled. We turned to see a blonde girl, running towards Hale.
“Jules!” Hale called in reply. The blonde-Jules-jumped into his arms, and he spun her around. Elle looked at me and gagged. I just rolled my eyes.
I liked Jules. Her and Hale got together last September. They hung out the whole summer before and he finally asked her to homecoming. (After my siblings and parents pushed him since they met.) She was nice to me, and gave me a lot of advice on guys, fashion, make up. She was the one boyfriend or girlfriend of my siblings who didn’t see me as ‘their boyfriend or girlfriend’s annoying little sister.’
“Joise! How are you? I barely saw you this summer!” she exclaimed, taking me into a hug. I smiled.
“I’m pretty good,” I replied. She was one of the few people who was allowed to call me Josie. She smiled, and laced her fingers into Hale’s hand. Hale took my hand and we all walked into school.
It was nice. I mean when Hale and Jules started hanging out, Jules tried to make sure I was included-usually-when they hung out at the house. I told Hale and Jules they didn’t have to all the time, but they still let me hang out with them.
“Jo? You know all your classes and stuff right?” Hale asked. I thought about it and then nodded. He gave me a hug, and turned to Jules.
“Hey, see you in second hour?” he asked. She smiled, and gave him a hug. Him and Elle went separate ways, leaving me and Jules. Jules turned to me, with a mischievous smile.
“So? Parker in any of your classes?” she asked, wiggling her eyebrows. I playfully slapped her.
“I don’t know. I think first, third, and sixth hour,” I blushed. She smiled.
“I think this is your year!” she encouraged in her sing-song voice. She gave me one last hug, waved, and went on her way. Parker has been my crush for over three years. I mean he’s like super cute, and really nice, and extremely cute, and super nice, and funny, and has a great laugh. And great hair.
I took a deep breath.
“Here we go.”
I sat in my third hour, waiting for the last few students to come. My classmates sat around chatting, and laughing with each other. I sat drawing up a new character.
I loved drawing. I had a whole wall of all my different characters. I drew people, landscapes. I couldn’t wait for art.
“Okay, everyone’s here, please sit down class!” my math teacher, Mrs. Fastener ordered, clapping her hands. I straightened myself up in my seat.
“Hey Jo!” the boy next to me said. I turned to see Parker.
“Oh hey!” I managed to get out.
Parker. My crush. It wasn’t like I was special or anything, lots of girls-way more prettier or popular than me-did. He had deep blue eyes, and dark black hair.
“How was your summer?” he asked. I shrugged, trying to play it cool. He nodded.
“Go anywhere fun?” he asked. Before I could reply, Mrs. Fastener began talking.
She went on about what we’d be learning this year, and different tests we’d be taking.
“Okay I want you all to say your name, age, birthday, and one thing about yourself,” Mrs. Fastener said. She looked around the room for the unexpecting student she would call on.
“Josephine!” she exclaimed. I jumped at my name, sending the class into giggles. I stood up, brushing my hands on my jeans.
“Um… hi my name is Jo. I am fourteen years old, but will be fifteen in October. Um… an interesting fact about me is that I... “ I tried to get my words out, but with everyone’s eyes on me it made me nervous.
“I have… twenty-five other siblings,” I finished. I gulped. A gasp went through the classroom followed by some giggles.
“And what do you have six dads too?” a boy laughed. The class laughed at his joke, and my cheeks burned red.
“Roger! I know you and your family and have many more embarrassing facts I could say!! Hmmm, let’s think!” Mrs. Fastener snapped. I smiled. Roger’s eyes widened.
“Oh, no thank you ‘mam!” he cried.
“Ah yes!! You went on vacation and forgot all your underwear, so you had to use your mom’s!” she said. Roger’s cheeks burned, and the class roared. I even snickered a bit. Mrs. Fastener gave me a wink. I smiled back. Mrs. Fastener had long black hair, and twinkling emerald eyes.
The bell rang, and we all filed out of class. I felt a tap on my back. I turned to see Roger, his face bright red.
“Hey! You ever make a fool of me again, I’ll pound you!” he snapped. My eyes widened.
“I… I uh…” I stuttered. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned to see Hallie.
“Oh my gosh!! Jo, is this a friend of yours?” Hallie gushed. Roger’s eyes went wide.
“He’s pretty cute!” she whispered. Roger smiled. Then Hallie’s face dropped.
“Too bad that whoever messes with my sister, won’t have a chance to ever be popular… ever,” she snapped right in his face. He went pale, and scrambled away. Hallie hugged me.
“Thanks Hals,” I said. She smiled, and flipped her caramel curls.
“Hon, it’s what sisters are for!” she said. She gave me one last hug, and sashayed away with her friends. I smiled.
Hallie was my seventeen year old sister, and the princess of the family. She had curly caramel hair (the only one in the family. My grandma says it’s recessive from our great-great-great grandma, but no one really knows,) and green eyes. She is drop dead gorgeous. Hallie was always the center of attention at school, the most popular. She hasn’t dated anyone, and I respect her for that. Lot of people gave her crap for it thinking she should date Ryan-most popular senior next to Ayden-but she wasn’t having it. Thankfully-for her I mean, not me-the girls in her grade respect her for that.
The bell rang, signaling lunch and I made my way to the lunch room. I got in there, and froze in fear. This room was huge!! There were people everywhere and the lunch line was super long. I gulped. I looked at the money in my hand and shoved it into my pocket. I’d be fine. I did eat a big breakfast. I looked around the room for an empty table. I made my way through the crowd of kids, until I found a table in the corner by the stage. I went and sat down, setting my sketchbook in front of me. I was working on a new character. Actually two. They were twins who had magic powers and when combined they could destroy the world.
“Hey is this seat taken?” I heard a voice ask. I looked up to see a girl with chin length red hair and blue eyes.
“Oh no! I can move!” I exclaimed, scrambling to get up. The girl laughed.
“You’re fine!” she said. I made a face and set back down. In middle school if someone asked if a seat was taken that meant ‘scram loser.’ I gulped, worrying it was a prank.
“You’re a freshman, right?” the girl asked. I blushed and nodded. She held out her hand.
“Sara. Sara Baxter,” she introduced. I shook her hand. She wore one of those two toned dark jean jackets, and a tye dye t-shirt under it.
“Jo. Jo Denise,” I replied. Her eyes bugged out.
“Jo? You’re part of the Denises?!” she asked. I made a confused face and nodded. She broke into a huge smile.
“Hallie and Ayden are so famous around her!” she exclaimed. I laughed and nodded.
“Yeah, Hallie is always talking about how many ‘fans’ she has.” Sara laughed.
“Hey guys get over here!” she yelled through cupped hands. I turned to see a group of about five people. Oh great. First day and was already being a freak. Woohoo.
“Jo, this is Marcie, George, and Parker,” Sara said. Marcie had long rainbow colored hair, and wore a purple crop top with a black tank top underneath, and shorts. George had blonde hair, and big blue eyes behind a pair of green glasses. I looked to… Parker. Oh gosh. The Parker was sitting right across from me. I felt my cheeks burn.
“Hey Jo. Seems you met my sister?” Parker laughed, gesturing to Sara. I looked surprised.
“Really? I didn’t know you had a sister!” I exclaimed. Sara laughed, grabbing Parker in a headlock and ruffling his hair.
“Gosh S, it took my forever on this hair!” he cried sarcastically. I laughed.
“So Jo, you’re part of the twenty-six kid Denise family?” Marcie asked. I nodded.
“Yeah it’s pretty crazy. I mean this morning my brother ran around with my sisters’ tutu on, and his underwear on his head,” I laughed. I slapped my hand over my mouth, worried I said too much. Then I realized the table was bursting with laughter.
“That… that… really happened?” George gasped. I nodded, smiling.
Now I don’t want you thinking I’m some socially awkward kid who has no friends. I have a best friend. Diana has been my BFF since preschool. The only problem is last year she moved all the way across the country to California, and I haven’t seen her since. I tried to make friends over the summer, but never really got the chance.
The table begged me to tell more stories, and in return I learned more about them. Sara was a sophomore, which surprised me. I thought the upperclassmen would be avoiding us freshmen like the boy’s floor at home on taco nights. Marcie was a sophomore too, and George a freshman. They all met in the drama club at school. George’s dad is a movie producer, so George had a lot of experience in acting. His dad produced High School Reality one of the best drama shows on TV.
“That’s so cool!!” I told George. He gave me a warm smile
I slid my phone back into my pocket and said,
“Guys I have to go. My mom’s here to pick me up!” I exclaimed. Sara stopped me.
“Here, let’s trade numbers! I’ll make a group chat with all of us!” she said, and took my phone. I smiled. I couldn’t believe it! I was already making friends!
“Oh cool! I’m a little busy, we usually go out to dinner on the first day of school!” I added, as Sara handed me my phone. George made a face, and pushed up his glasses.
“How do you go to a restaurant with twenty-six people?” he asked. Sara slapped him.
“George that’s rude!” she snapped. George made an apologetic face. I shrugged him off.
“No it’s okay. It’s actually kinda funny. The waiters give us weird looks, and ask ridiculous questions,” I said. George seemed to release a breath.
I waved my new friends goodbye, and headed out the door. There sat the Challenger, and Jade honking the horn, and my mom swatting her away. I rolled my eyes.
“Hey Jo! How was your first day of being a freshman?” Hale asked, putting his arm on my shoulders.
“Great! I met this group of students, and they’re so nice!. Sara, and Marcie are sophomores and George is a freshman!” I recapped excitedly. Hale smiled.
“That’s awesome. I knew my little sis would make friends,” he smiled, ruffling my hair.
“Race ya!” I called, pushing him aside, and rushing towards the car. He laughed, and ran after me. I flung open the car door, and jumped into the back. Luckily, Elle was in the middle, next to Jade, so I got shotgun!” I hopped into the front.
“Hi honey! How was your day?!” my mom exclaimed, pulling me into a tight hug. I smiled.
“Awesome! I can’t believe high school is this fun!!” I exclaimed, the excitement shining in my eyes. My mom smiled, sides of her eyes crinkling.
“That’s great! Jade don’t tattoo on yourself!” my mom snapped, turning around, and snatching a sharpie from Jade. Jade groaned.
“It’s cool though! Ugh it’s this family sucks!” she snapped, slouching in her seat. My mom sighed, but kept a smile on. Hale hopped in the car.
“Okay family, here we go!” my mom exclaimed, pulling out of the parking lot.
“When we get home, get on a nice outfit, and get ready to go out to eat. It’s 3:30, be downstairs by four please,” my mom instructed. I heard Jade scoff. We pulled into our driveway. The second my mom got out, Hallie ran out screaming.
“MOOOOM!!!! I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAAAR!!!” she shrieked. My mom sighed with a smile.
“Okay, we’ll find something,” she assured, letting Hallie drag her inside. I just had to laugh at that girl. Jade shuffled inside.
Jade. That girl was a mystery. We took her in from the child care agency about two years ago. She was pretty quiet at first, but warmed up to us. She would’ve been ten at the time. We fostered her for a whole year and a half. Towards the end of that half year she started acting up. Ever since then she’s been different. She dyed her gorgeous raven hair with green streaks, and liked to draw on herself with a sharpie. Just didn’t know what was wrong with her.
There was a honk behind me, and I whipped around to see Hax honking at me in the truck. I rolled my eyes, and headed inside. Hannah rushed past me, hood up. Hannah? Hood up? Sure, she was quiet, but she hated having her hair stuck in her hood. I ran inside after her, throwing my coat on the hook. I rushed up the stairs, passing by Lucy and Pepper examining dresses in the mirror on the hallway wall. I ran into the Older Girls Side-this was where… well the older girls hung out/lived.
“Jo! Which color lip gloss,mom can’t decide!” Hannah yelped, shoving two shades of lip gloss in my face.
“The one on the right. Why did you come all the way down her to ask me?” I asked. She scoffed.
“Jo you’re the only other girl in this house who knows how to use makeup now that Zoe and Lola went to… college,” she gagged, saying college like it was a swear word. I made a face, but before I could respond she rushed back upstairs. I walked up the stairs, and into the hallway. I made my way to Hannah’s room, and knocked on the door. I heard some shuffling.
“Not now!” she snapped. I jumped back. Hannah wasn’t one to be snippy. I turned the door handle anyway to see Hannah with her back to me on her bed.
“Hannah?” I whispered. There was sniffling, and wiping of tears, and she turned towards me.
“Oh gosh, Jo. Do you need something?” she asked, wiping away tears, and putting on a fake smile.
“Are you okay?” I asked her, coming to sit on her bed. She had a pretty spacious room. It had simple white carpet, and a bean bag chair left of the door. Her bed was pushed up against the wall. It was a simple white comforter. Snickers, her hamster, whistled in the corner of her room.
“Yea I’m okay. How was school?” she asked, choking back tears, and trying to change the subject.
Hannah. She was so pretty, if she would just believe it. She had long straight brown hair, and freckles. Her big brown eyes shined when she was happy, and glistened when she was sad. She always worried about others.
Her phone buzzed. I got a quick peek at it before she shoved it under her. Terres. I know his name is even stupid. None of us siblings like him, and dad has his suspicions, but mom insists he’s a good guy. Yea, right. Does a good guy hang his girlfriend’s younger brother on the flagpole at school? No.
“Hannah. What is wrong?” I pushed forward. Before she could even answer I saw the red spot on her neck again. I jumped forward, and moved her hair to see a red hand mark. My eyes widened.
“Terres?” I asked in shock. The tears came faster, and she nodded. I slapped my hand to my mouth.
“Hannah! No way!” I exclaimed, gripping her in a hug. She cried harder. My anger grew inside of me. Anyone who hurt any of my siblings I hated. I pulled her away from me, and looked into her eyes.
“Hannah. Here’s what’s gonna happen. We are going to get ready together. We’re going to go and have a great dinner. You’re going to block Terres, and tell mom after dinner. Okay?” I suggested. She shook her head.
“Jo, please no, don’t tell mom! I don’t tell mom! I don’t want her to be mad at me!” she sobbed. My heart hurt. I cupped her chin.
“Hannah! No one could ever be mad at you! You’re the sweetest in the whole family!” I reassured her, and gave her a hug. Hannah smiled, but just nodded. The door flung open, and there stood Hallie.
“Guys we have to go!” she snapped, but her face softened when she saw Hannah.
“Okay. Here, Jo, go find something for Hannah to wear, and I’ll clean you up. Jo meet us in the bathroom, okay?” she ordered softly. I nodded, and Hallie ushered Hannah to the bathroom. I smiled, and went to Hannah’s closet. That was another thing I loved about Hallie. She didn’t ask questions. She didn’t push people. She just helped. And yes, Hale is my best friend, and understood me better than anyone, but as far as girls go-that live in the house-Hannah is my favorite. I feel like Hannah, Hallie, Elle and I are an unstoppable force.
I finally found a pair of high waisted jeans, and a cute red sweater. I headed to the bathroom that was connected to Hannah’s room. Wowzas. Hannah five minutes ago was a snotty mess, and now she was glowing, and laughing with Hallie. Hallie turned to me.
“Oh my gosh!! Jo, that’s perfect!” she exclaimed, taking the hangers from me, and holding them up to Hannah. Hallie rested her head on Hannah’s shoulder.
“Darling. You are absolutely gorgeous,” she sighed. Hannah gave a half hearted laugh, and wiped away invisible tears. I smiled, and shut the door. This was an older sister moment.
Okay I'm gonna stop here cause I SPENT MY WHOLE EASTER reading your books so far. #FANGIRL=me
Which one is the first? If We Survive, or If We Make It Out? I have read Just a Little Romance, and Against the Unknown. Please continue Against the Unknown! VERY INTERESTING. All of your books inspire me to make more of my own books. Do you have any ideas for me? #BIGGESTFAN