Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Daughter of Apollo - Chapter 3

The Daughter of Apollo
Chapter 3: My Mother, Renee
7 years later
Renée finally snapped. It appears that receiving a letter from the principal on New Year’s Day was the last straw for her.
It happened this morning when a letter from my school, Sacagawea High, came in through the mail. As I was an early riser, I saw it drop from the mail slot to the carpeted floor. Unfortunately, I was not the only early riser in the room. My mother Renée was one, too.
“It’s a letter from your school,” Renée said, eyebrows raised – not in surprise, but in mild curiosity. I couldn’t blame her. The last time I got a letter from school, it was just a few months ago. The funny thing was that it wasn’t from Sacagawea High. It was from another school, the school I attended for my sophomore year. The letter contained a very, very detailed explanation as to why I was expelled. Apparently, it was my fault that the girl’s bathroom on the fourth floor was completely trashed.
I wanted to badly to tell them it was the Minotaur’s fault, but something told me no one would’ve believed me. I was really angry when I got expelled for a crime I didn’t commit, but in the end, I got the last laugh. Said Minotaur was dead because of me. I killed it. Served him right for attacking me between third and fourth period.
“Oh. What does it say?” I tried to not let too much interest show in my voice. Who could blame me? I wanted to know if it was an expulsion letter or not. If so, then it would be my third time in a row. Ever since I came back to live with Renée when I was fourteen, each and every school she had sent me to, I always got expelled. And all because some monster tries to send me six feet under.
When will the monsters ever learn? Do not mess with demigods.
Yes, I’m a demigod. Well, a demigoddess, but who cares about that slight technicality? My mother’s a mortal and my father’s an Olympian – as in, one of the Greek gods Olympian. It’s pretty serious stuff. The only down part was that I have no clue who my father is. Renée hadn’t got a clue. As far as she knew, my father was some racecar driver who knocked her up during a summer fling.
“Well, the letter is both good new and bad news,” said Renée. She put the letter down and, when I reached for it, slapped my hand away. She then cupped her mug and took a sip of her herbal tea. I rolled my eyes and focused on my cereal. Renée would tell me in time. I mean, I had the right to know if I was expelled or not.
Seconds passed. Minutes passed. I couldn’t wait anymore. My stupid ADHD was making me uneasy. “Mom,” I only addressed Renée as ‘mom’ whenever I wanted something. “What does the letter say?”
Renée frowned, swished her herbal tea around the cup, drank it, and then folded her arms. She then stared at me with those piercing eyes that mothers always have. It was their only weapon against delinquent children like me, the ones who actually like spending time in their room so a good grounding can never apply. Meanwhile, I squirmed in my seat.
“It says that you’re expelled,” she stated. Her tone of voice told me that that was the bad news.
So the faculty had found a way to tie me to the catastrophe that was the Auditorium Incident, as I had taken to calling it. That was smart of them. I thought I had covered my tracks. At any rate…
“And the good news?” I prompted. From upstairs, loud thumping sounds that were Charlotte and Charlene’s footfalls from the attic told me that the twins were awake. I managed to control my grimace in time. Those girls simply get under my skin. They were far too girly for my tastes. They really were Renée’s prefect daughters, the one who actually enjoy entering beauty pageants and actually win first place. Unlike me, the pageant hater and second placer.
“Well, the news is good for me, not for you,” said Renée.
I appeared unperturbed. “Which is?”
“You’re moving to Forks,” she said, and at that same moment, Charlene burst through the kitchen’s swing door shouting a loud “Good morning” for people all the way in Greece to here. And since we were living in Phoenix, Arizona in America, it was one great feat.
“Who’s moving to Forks?” asked Charlotte, trudging after her sister.
“Ooh, is it Bella?” squealed Charlene. I glared at her. Charlene was, as most people will say, the epitome of beauty, though I beg to differ – really. With her shaggy blonde hair, crystal blue eyes and button nose, Charlene was one pretty six year old. But clearly, she holds no candle to Aphrodite, or any of the other goddesses for that matter.
“Oh, Bella’s leaving!” cried Charlotte. “I don’t want her to leave! She was supposed to teach me how to play the ukulele!” Charlotte, like Charlene, had shaggy blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. I suppose it helped that they were identical twins.
“Whoa, hold up here a minute,” I exclaimed, raising a hand so that the two girls to quiet down. “Bella is right here,” I glared at the two. At Renée, I hissed, “And what do you mean I’m moving to Forks? Are you throwing me out?” Unknowingly, I was already on my feet.
How could she? I was just expelled, not arrested. Believe me, I know the difference. There was that time in Jacksonville when I spent an entire week in prison. Not the Jacksonville, Florida in which Renée and her family, and therefore I, used to live in half a year ago, but the Jacksonville in North Carolina. However, that’s a story for another time.
“Bella, please look at this in my perspective,” reasoned Renée. “This is the third time in three years that you have been expelled from school. I simply do not know what to do with you; you’re bad influence on my little angels.”
I wanted so much to glare at said ‘little angels’ but I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t just be moving to Forks. I’d be moving to Forks right now. Renée would toss me out of the house before I can say Camp Half-Blood.
“I’ve told you time and again that if you do not straighten up,” Renée continued her tirade, “I would have to take drastic measures. Consider you moving in to live with Charlie as me taking drastic measures.”
“So instead of being the loving mother and just ground me or take away my stereo for a few months,” I deadpanned, “you’ve decided to kick my sorry ass out.” Renée gave me a piercing look for my language in front of the kids.
“I’m not kicking you out,” she said. “I’m just… handing you over to Charlie. He misses you, and I know you miss him. He might not be your real father, but he might as well be. He raised you, didn’t he?”
“Yeah,” I snorted. “Until I was five. You dragged me off with you when you left Forks.”
Charlie, poor soul, thought that I was his daughter. I mean, Renée did tell him that she was pregnant with his child when she found out that she had missed a couple of periods. By then, summer was over and my father, whoever he is, was gone. Back to Olympus, probably.
Perhaps he was one of those minor gods that didn’t bother in claiming their children. Ever since Percy Jackson had asked (more like scammed) the gods into claiming their half-blood children before the age of thirteen, demigods were popping out from odd places. Some were even from other countries besides America. Or, perhaps my father was Hermes, since I bunk up in his cabin – Hermes was kind enough to let all the undetermined half-bloods stay in his cabin – but I have a strong feeling that he wasn’t my father. For one thing, I couldn’t steal anything to save my life – literally. However, living with Hermes’ children had taught me a few trade secrets.
Still, I look up to Charlie as some sort of father-figure. He was cool. I used to spend one months of my summers with him – that is, until I ran away when I was ten. After Frank, the closest thing I have to a best friend, saved me and introduced me to the world of monsters, gods and celestial bronze weapons, I was instantly whisked off to Camp Half-Blood. I stayed there full-time for a couple of years, only coming out for certain missions or when I craved for some real Coke. Anyway, I miss Charlie. I suppose it would do me some good to spend a couple of months with him before I go to Camp again this summer.
“I’ve already talked to Charlie about it,” said Renée softly as she prepared the twin’s breakfast. “I knew something like this was going to happen. He says he’d be glad to keep you for the rest of the school year. I’ll call him later to organize your transcripts.”
I dreaded the idea of living in Forks, a small town that doesn’t even place on the map of Washington State. And, it was the farthest point possible from New York, where Olympus happened to be on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building and where Camp Half-Blood was located off Long Island. It was like leaving home. But, knowing that my leaving was inevitable, I finished the last morsels of my breakfast and locked myself in my room.
I pretty much ignored everyone for the rest of the day. Phil, the twins’ father and my step-father, tried at one point to trick me out, like I’m some sort of pest hiding in a crevice. I told him to mind his own business and cranked my music louder. Renée hated loud music, so my listening to The All American Reject’s ‘Gives You Hell’ had a triple purpose: annoy my mother twice over for the loudness and the vulgarity, and to drown out the sounds of people knocking on my door.
The next couple of days, seeing as I was expelled, I spent mostly in my room. I listened to music, played music, packed my things, unpacked my things, listened to music some more, and then did more repacking. Finally, five days after Renée had broken the news of my expulsion, she strolled into my room and unplugged my stereo right out of its socket.
“You’re now officially a student of Forks High School,” she announced, smiling.
I raised an eyebrow. “And I care… why?”
Her smile dropped. “Bella,” she sighed, “I’m doing this for your own good. Please try and behave this time, all right?”
I didn’t bother trying to explain to her that I do try to behave. It’s not my fault that monsters attack me every time I get settled in some new school. Of course, Renée knew no such thing about the clandestine world of the Olympian gods. She was harebrained and sometimes immature, sometimes unpredictable, and I couldn’t as well trust her with such an important a secret as that.
Renée sighed again and moved to leave my room. She dawdled a bit at the doorway, and though she wasn’t in my view, I knew she was watching me. “Look,” she said, “I’m sorry for doing this. I know how it might look for you, but it’s for the best. Like I said, it’s for your own good.”
Yeah Renée? Was it the best for me, or was it the best for you? You just don’t want me around to ruin your perfect little family. I’m sorry that I can’t live up to Charlene and Charlotte’s reputations; I’m sorry for not being your idealized role model for them. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be your perfect first child. I mean, there was no such thing as perfect. Even the gods themselves weren’t perfect, and they popularized classical perfection.
I’ve wasted my breath before trying to make my mother understand. I wasn’t even going to bother anymore.
“All right then,” she said. And just when I thought she finally left, Renée spoke again. “I’ve already booked your tickets. You’re leaving two days from now, so I suggest you pack all the things you need to pack. Don’t forget your toothbrush. You know what happened last time when we moved from Jacksonville.”
My face twisted into a mocking grimace. “Now that I’m leaving you, why are you trying to mother me now, Renée?” I mouthed derisively. “Don’t forget my toothbrush…” I scoffed. “Please.”
I didn’t need her to remind me. I can take care of myself. I’ve been doing just that ever since I was five, when I was forced to leave behind the only reliable adult I knew in Forks.
With a frustrated groan, I punched my pillow multiple times to release my pent-up emotions. I couldn’t wait for summer to come by.

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