A New Home and a New Family is the twenty-ninth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on November 4, 2016.
We told Chiron about our plans for the school year, and he agreed to them.
We said goodbye to Cassandra and went to Jasmine’s grandparents house, and Luke met the rest of the family.
“Luke, this is my daughter, Emily,” Raylee introduced them.
Emily approached Luke in a weird way and held out her hand to him.
“Hi,” she said. “I’m guessing you’re going to be my new brother?”
“Uh, yeah,” he replied and shook her hand, also in a weird way. “You’re Jasmine’s aunt?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“You’re kind of young to be an aunt.”
“Yeah. But I’m not her youngest. Her dad’s sister is about three years younger than her.”
“Yes. But she’s more like her cousin than her aunt.”
Emily shifted her feet uncomfortably. “Umm, let me show you your room. Then I’ll give you a tour of the rest of the house.”
“Ok,” Luke replied.
“Why are you being weird?” Jasmine asked Emily.
“I’m not,” she replied quickly.
“Yes, you are. Do you like Luke?”
She turned red and put her head down in her heads, shaking her head. “No.”
“Are you sure?”
“Jasmine,” Sarah said. “Let’s go show Annabeth her room at our house and let her make it her own, ok?”
“Ok. And Toothless too.”
“Yes. Emily, when you’re done showing Luke around, come down to our house. I want to talk to you about something.”
“What?” she asked.
“Just come down when you’re done.”
“Ok. . . .”
“Let’s go, girls,” Zak said.
My room was right next to Jasmine’s room.
There wasn’t much in it. Just a bed, a nightstand, and a desk. The walls were just white and the light from the window made the room bright. There was also a fan on the ceiling, and the bathroom right next to the bed, and a closet next to that.
“There isn’t much,” Sarah said. “But like I said, you can make it any way you’d like, add some color. I was actually thinking that you two can make your rooms into one.”
“We can?” Jasmine asked.
Sarah nodded. “Yes. We can take out this wall between your rooms and put up a big long curtain in its place so that you two can still have privacy from each other. You girls could easily be connected. What do you think?”
Jasmine and I both looked at each other and smiled.
“I like it,” I said.
“Me too,” Jasmine agreed.
“Great!,” Sarah said. “We’ll start on that tomorrow. For today, let’s let Annabeth settle in.”
“And Toothless too.”
“Yes. Who could forget about him?”
Jasmine showed Toothless her room. She had her mom make him a bed with his name on it with her powers, and Jasmine put it next to her pillow on her bed. But I doubt that he could sleep in it for long.
Toothless was now twice the size he was when we met him, almost Komodo’s size, and Komodo didn’t seem to like him at all. But Fiskerton did, despite not wanting Jasmine’s parents to keep him as her pet when she first asked them. Johnathan likes him too.
Emily, Luke, Raylee, Nick, Cj, and the animals came down to our house. We all sat around a table in the living room.
“Ok,” Raylee said. “First things first. Luke, Annabeth, do you two want to go to school?”
“Wait,” Luke said. “We don’t have to go to school?”
“It’s totally up to you. We could put you in an online course if you’d like. Cj doesn’t like that we’re leaving it up to you two to decide, but no one really cares what he thinks.”
He glared at her. She and Nick just laughed.
“Anyway,” Sarah said. “Jasmine, since you’ve missed more than half a year of school, you’re going to half to be held back and do second grade again. And that also means that Peter won’t be with you because he didn’t miss any school.”
“Aww,” she said.
“But Annabeth can be with you. And you both are pretty smart. So you two could be advance students and get your grade level back.”
“Do we have to do any kind of school?” Luke asked.
“Well, for me, personally, I think it’s a load of crap,” Raylee replied. “I have a terrible memory, and I think that most of the stuff that you learn in school is useless, but it might be different for you.”
“So I don’t have to go to school?”
“If you don’t want to, no, you don’t have to.”
“Raylee,” Cj said. “If he doesn’t go to school, what will he be doing during the week?”
“Well, believe it or not, Cj, he’s not a lazy person. Nick and I can hang out with him like we have been for the past few years, or he can hang out with his new brothers and sisters. He can do a lot of things. But anyway, Luke, you don’t want to go to school, so you won’t. But what about you two, Jasmine and Annabeth?”
“I like school,” I replied.
“Me too,” Jasmine agreed.
“Good,” Zak said. “You two will go to school, which starts tomorrow, so you two better go get ready for it.”
We ran off to our rooms.
Later, Jasmine was listening to her mom talk to Emily, and she made me listen with her.
“You like him, don’t you?” Sarah asked Emily.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve never really liked a guy before.”
“There’s a first time for everything, Emily. And he is pretty cute.”
“That’s for sure.”
“I knew you liked Luke,” Jasmine said, blowing our cover.
“Oh my God,” Emily said. “You two have to promise not to tell him.”
“Because I don’t want him to know that I might have feelings for him.”
“Because I don’t want him to know! And I couldn’t act on them if I wanted to since we’re going to be brother and sister. Now are you two going to promise me or not?”
“We promise,” I said.
“I’ll make sure they keep their promise,” Sarah said.
“Thank you,” Emily replied.
“I think Luke likes you too,” Jasmine said.
“You really think so?”
She nodded. “Uh-huh. He was also being weird to you.”
“Maybe. I mean, when I was giving him a tour of our house, it was really awkward. But I thought it was just me.” Emily looked at me. “What do you think?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“What would they think?” Sarah said. “They’re almost eight. They don’t know much yet. But you should be careful with him, Emily.”
“I know,” she said. “Mom says to watch boys you like carefully. But I’m afraid I won’t. So, if I don’t, can you do whatever you can to snap me out of it?”
“Hey, what are sisters for?”
They laughed. Jasmine and I did too.
The next few days were good.
Luke and Toothless would take me and Jasmine to the school bus stop. We tell them goodbye, go to school, learn new things, and they get us when we get back.
After school, Jasmine and I and her parents, would work on my bedroom. We got rid of the wall between our rooms, put up an orange curtain in its place, then we painted my walls silver. (I like that color.) I got myself a few new clothes and Jasmine gave me some of her stuffed animals, but I only liked the teddy bear that Luke gave me. I put a picture of Jasmine and me and another one of us with Luke and Cassandra on my nightstand.
My room was perfect now. We even helped Luke with his room, and sometimes we even stayed with him for the night.
At the end of the week, with it going great, Jasmine’s parents went to talk to my dad to see if they can adopt me; and Raylee and Nick went to talk to Luke’s mom to see if she can adopt him.
We both were really nervous.
We played in the pool until they came back. After they did, we dried off and talked on the porch.
“Well, I’m sure that it was easy for you guys than it was for me,” Raylee said.
“Surprisingly, it was,” Sarah said.
“What happened with Luke’s mom?” Zak asked.
“She was . . . the same,” Raylee replied. “We had a long talk with crappy tea and crappy cookies. Then she had one of her . . .” She looked at Luke. “What do you call it? Fits?”
“Yeah. She was having one of her fits. But I got her to let me adopt you and she signed the form.”
“Sorry about that,” Luke said.
“It’s ok. I’ve seen worse.”
“I don’t doubt that.”
“What do you mean?” Emily asked. “Her fits?”
“Umm, Luke can tell you about that,” Raylee said. “If he’s up to it.”
“Which I’m not right now,” he said.
I remembered meeting Luke’s mom a few months ago and his dad. She didn’t have any of her “fits”, but she was still scary to look at.
“Anyway,” Raylee continued. “How did it go for you guys with Annabeth’s dad?”
“Really well, actually,” Sarah said. “First of all, Annabeth, we got you all of your stuff that was in your room there and put it all in your room here. And second of all, your father knows that you are a demigod. That your mother is Athena.”
“He does?” I asked, surprised.
She nodded. “Yes. You’re probably not going to believe this, but he wanted us to tell you that he misses you and loves you. And that you’re still his daughter. He hopes that someday you two can be a family again. But for now, he’s letting you join our family. He knows that we’ll take very good care of you as if you were one of our own, which you are.”
“Even though he told me to stay away from Jasmine?” I asked.
“Yes. He realized how wrong that was and how much Jasmine cares about you. He also wants to see you, but he’ll understand if you don’t want to see him. Do you want to see him?”
I thought about it for a moment. My dad misses and loves me. Did I believe he was telling the truth? It’s something that I’ve been wanting to hear from him, but I didn’t know if I wanted to believe him.
Did I feel the same way . . . ?
“No,” I answered.
Sarah nodded like she knew that I was going to say that. “Ok. But do know that you can go see your dad whenever you want. He’s just across the river, as you know. But make sure you tell us if you do, ok?”
“Alright,” Raylee said with a smile on her face. “Now all we have to do is sign the forms and turn them in. Once that’s done, Luke and Annabeth, you two will be official members of our family. Welcome.”
“Yay!” Jasmine cheered and gave me a hug. “You’re my sister now!” She gave Luke a hug too. “And you’re my uncle.”
Luke and I both smiled.
Yay! They're apart of the family now!
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- Luke Castellan
- Emily Hollinger
- Raylee Hollinger
- Sarah Saturday
- Zak Saturday
- Cj Hollinger
- Cassandra (mentioned)
- Chiron (mentioned)