Young Atlanteans – Two Tribes – Part 3

ferrier estate

The old Ferrier estate in Kidbrooke was my inspiration for where the three Young Atlanteans would live. Don’t forget it is a work in progress …

 

Part 3

 

The rest of the day was long, boring and uneventful. JJ was relieved when at last the final bell went.

The class filed out and the three of them stuck closer together this time in the throng of kids crowding the corridor.

“Where are we meeting them?” Xavier shouted over Alexia’s head, while they were pushed and jostled along.

“I dunno,” JJ said over his shoulder.

“By the front gates,” Alexia said.

JJ didn’t miss the angry look on Xavier’s face. Looks as though sis was getting pally with foster bro already.

            The two Johnson boys were already there. Patrick was laughing with a friend, and Dwayne was on his phone. His face lit up when he saw Alexia.

JJ smiled knowingly at Xavier. This would be entertaining. He wasn’t going to make it hard for his sister. Latitia’s banging hot body reminded him of the reason he would make it easier. A smirk crept across his face.

Latitia scowled at him.

Instead of responding, he looked straight at Dwayne. A moment only men understood passed between them. He looked pissed off – not so much because JJ was ogling his sister, but because he now understood JJ held the bargaining chip for Alexia. He almost laughed out loud.

“Let’s walk!” Patrick said. “It’s not far.

JJ nodded once sealing the deal, and they began to walk. They travelled all the way along Denmark Hill into the High Street, then a few turns later into a run down housing estate.

Alexia’s face went from unease, to concern and then to horror. JJ put a comforting arm around her shoulders. They continued to walk in silence taking in their surroundings. From the graffiti on the grey concrete walls, to the litter covering the shabby recreation ground. It was just two old swings and a roundabout. The Johnsons seemed blind to it. He guessed you would if you saw it every day.

Eventually they came to a bleak grey concrete block of five stories arranged in a quadrangle with three others.

Alexia looked at JJ in alarm as they entered the urine smelling stairwell.

“Lift’s broke,” Patrick explained.

JJ took Alexia’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Xavier followed sullenly behind. The stairs were dark, with gloomy yellow-film covered lighting to illuminate the brainless tagging all over the walls.

Thankfully, they were only led to the second story.

“Are we visiting someone?” Alexia asked, with a plea in her eyes.

“No,” Patrick said, putting his key in the cracked painted front door.

JJ squeezed Alexia’s hand again when her eyes went wide. He knew she was trying hard not to cry. Xavier’s face was unreadable.

“Mum!” Patrick called, while they stood awkwardly in the hallway.

Then JJ was surprised when another kid of about five and a toddler ran to greet them from another room. The place didn’t seem big enough. Five kids, plus them, made eight.

            A beautiful mixed race woman joined them drying her hands on a tea towel. “Welcome … welcome!” she said. “I’m Rianna.” She grabbed Patrick, Dwayne, and Latitia one by one and kissed them. “Well, come here. She opened her arms to him. “If you’re gonna be my kids for a while, you all get treated the same,” and she squashed JJ against her ample bosom and kissed him loudly on the cheek. She then proceeded to hug the life out of the others. Alexia let out an involuntary yelp.

“This is Marcus and this little rascal is Joseph,” Rianna said, introducing the two little ones. “What lovely looking children you are – so like your beautiful dads,” she said, shaking her head.

JJ quirked an eyebrow at Xavier. The connection to their fathers was intriguing. Xavier widened his eyes in answer back.

“Right, let me show you to your rooms.”

There couldn’t be many bedrooms. JJ hoped if he had to share, he’d be near Latitia. He looked about him and realized she’d already disappeared.

“Put the kettle on, love!” Rianna shouted. “Right, follow me.” Then she walked two steps to a door and pushed it wide.

JJ and Xavier poked their heads into the room. Not only was the room smaller than they were used to, but there were two sets of bunk beds, one on each side of the room. There was a small chest of drawers between then with a clock on top, and that was it.

“You boys are in here with Patrick and Dwayne.”

“We’re on this side,” Dwayne said, pushing between them and staking his claim on the right side of the room.

“JJ and Xav … you can take the beds on the left. You can slide your bags underneath,” Rianna said, then turned her attention to Alexia. “Alex … come with me. You’re in with Latitia and the babies.”

Xavier looked stunned. JJ shrugged. Guess he didn’t need to unpack. There was nowhere to put anything anyway.

“Alexia … my name’s Alexia.” Her lips were a tight line when she glanced at JJ as she left the room.

JJ kicked off his shoes and claimed the bottom bunk by lying on it with his hands behind his head.

“Don’t get too comfortable,” Xavier said, putting his phone to his ear. “We’re not staying.”

JJ let out a blast of air in amusement. It didn’t surprise him when Xavier swore.

“Bloody answerphone. He’s deliberately not answering.”

“Of course. Just chill out Xav. Go with it for a while.” JJ closed his eyes and absorbed the throbbing base come through the wall from next door. It was kind of relaxing. It didn’t matter where he was. His whole existence was mapped out for him, and had been from the moment he was conceived. There was no free will where the Fates were concerned. No point in fighting it. Xavier was a bit slow in learning this.

 

Forty-five minutes later and Rianna shouted; “Foods in ten, guys!”

JJ roused himself with a deep sigh and wandered out into the living room.

Patrick and Dwayne were sitting at the small dining table doing homework. The two young kids had their heads stuck in some kids program on a prehistoric TV. Xavier and Alexia were sitting on the only sofa texting like mad on their phones. Latitia was missing.

The opportunity to speak to her alone wasn’t going to come up often. JJ turned quietly before anyone noticed and went back out into the hallway. The clattering of pans told him where the kitchen was, so he knocked on the only closed door.

“What?”

“Can I come in?” JJ said as quietly as he could.

There was a long pause. “What do you want?”

“Just to talk.”

Another pause. “Make it quick.”

Smiling, he quietly went in.

 

Latitia was sitting with her feet hanging over the top bunk. She had homework books around her but was texting on her phone.

JJ looked around. The room was laid out exactly the same as his, except this one was girlier; filled with stuffed toys and pictures obviously drawn by an under five. “Can I come up?”

Latitita looked a little alarmed. “No … don’t you understand boundaries where you come from?”

He laughed, not at all offended. He wouldn’t mind betting she was prickly with all the boys. “Ah come on … I only want to talk. It’s kinda hard for us away from home.” He was shamelessly playing the sympathy card, but all’s fair … and all that.

She narrowed her eyes. “Five minutes,” and moved her papers to make room.

JJ grinned, climbed the small ladder and sat next to her. It amused him when she shuffled up the bed to make the space wider between them. “Texting your boyfriend?” he said, pointing at her phone still in her hand.

The pause before she said yes, gave it away as a lie. “I don’t believe you,” he said with a smirk.

Latitia sat up straighter. “Why … don’t you think I would have a boyfriend?”

He was trying not to laugh as he’d really offended her. His face got serious. “Of course I do. It’s just I think you wouldn’t bother with the average boy around here.” It was obvious flattery but she was beautiful and deserved the best.

For a moment she looked stunned; studying him for a hidden joke or insult. “That’s right,” she said eventually. “So don’t even try it.”

Laughter escaped him before he could stop it. Then he wiped it off his face with a hand. “The problem with that is, I’m not from around here.” A frown crossed his brow. Why was he bothering? Then he shrugged the thought away. He was here to have fun. “And I’m far from average.”

When his eyes returned to hers, she’d been studying him closely. “My mum knows your dad.”

JJ nodded. “Yeah, probably both my dads.”

Her eyebrows rose for a second. “The other two … different dad?”

It surprised him how easily she got it.

“Me too … the two little ones have a different dad.”

JJ smiled at the simplification. “Mine’s slightly more complicated.” How do you explain to someone how your mother carried them all in her womb at the same time? And that it was a miracle he was conceived at all. It was pointless going into it, and he leaned back against the wall. “So why no boyfriend then?”

Latitia shrugged. “I’m too busy, I don’t want the distraction.”

He conceded with a nod, “What do you want to do?” There weren’t that many people in his life who were ambitious. Everyone in his family had their lives mapped out for them.

“I want to be a dancer.”

Her words were defiant, but he could tell she expected him to laugh. His eyes roamed over her body appreciating every toned muscle. He could totally see her doing that. “My aunt was a dancer.”

Her eyes lit up in surprise. “Really?”

“It was before she got married.”

“What about you, what do you wanna do?” Her animosity suddenly gone, she turned towards him cross-legged eagerly waiting for his answer. But what could he say – That he and Xavier would some day have to battle it out for the crown? It didn’t matter what he wanted, or who he met. Everything would turn to crap anyway.

With a deep sigh he said; “I’ll have to go into the family business.” His eyes flashed to hers and he decided he didn’t want to talk anymore.

She was staring at him and sensing his unhappiness and he didn’t like it. It made him feel exposed.

Then Patrick burst into the room and the heat was taken off him. His beaming smile dropped for a second when he saw JJ on his sister’s bed, but his excitement got the better of him. “Tish, come see. It’s massive.”

Latitia was already climbing across JJ to get down the ladder. He slid down straight after.

“What is it?” Latitia said

“A massive TV.”

“A Game Station … A Game Station,” Little Marcus was saying jumping up and down.

In the living room, they were all gathered round while Rianna unpacked the huge TV, a satellite box and the games console.

JJ cast a look Xavier’s way, who rolled his eyes. It was obvious who’d sent it.

The Johnsons were thrilled.

“Set it up Patrick. We’ll have our dinner on our laps tonight.”

Rianna left the room wiping her eyes. It didn’t take much to realize there wasn’t a lot of money coming into this house. JJ had never been around people this poor before. It was an eye-opener. Whether it was Dante or Jay who sent this, it didn’t matter. It meant enough to her to bring her to tears.

 

Their food came and they ate quickly. The chicken and rice was cooked in a way JJ had never tasted before. Rianna explained it was Caribbean food. He liked it. Still troubled by Rianna’s reaction to his dad’s gift, JJ went to clear up the plates and take them to the kitchen.

“Don’t worry, love,” Rianna said. “Patrick and Dwayne can do it tonight. I’ll draw up a rota tomorrow. You go and put your feet up.”

He just shrugged and went back into the living room. Latitia had gone back to her room.

“It’s the pits,” Alexia said as soon as she was sure they were alone.

“If dad thinks sending all this means we’re staying he’s wrong,” Xavier said.

JJ sighed and kicked back in his chair, vaguely aware there was a knock at the front door. “Does it matter where we are? It all ends up the same. I don’t mind it. At least they’re not fake.”

“We’ll see if you feel the same when you’ve humped her,” Xavier said.

JJ flashed a look at Xavier’s angry face, and went to come back with something, when he heard a commotion coming from the hallway.

All three of them leapt to their feet to go and see what the shouting was about.

There were two huge blokes the size of his father’s guards. One had a shaved head. Patrick, Dwayne and Rianna were trying to push them out of the flat. Latitia held the two little ones crying in her arms.

“I told you, next week. I’ll have it by then.”

“We’ll just take something now to help you remember,” the bald one said. Then he pulled back his arm and punched Dwayne squarely in the eye, sending him flying. The Johnson boys were big but still only youths and no contest for the two gorillas pushing their way in.

JJ immediately stepped forward and Xavier was right with him.

The two men paused when they caught sight of them. “What do we have ‘ere?” the bald one said, laughing.

“Please go in the other room boys. I can deal with this,” Rianna said.

“Maybe I can help?” JJ said.

The bald guy was looking mildly amused. “And what can you do, son, eh?”

JJ felt Dwayne come up to the left of him, rubbing his jaw. “What do you need?” JJ asked.

The bald debt collector pointed past him into the open door to the living room. “That telly for starters.”

“I’m afraid that’s mine.”

The two men faced each other and laughed. “Oh, I’m frightfully sorry,” the bald one said, mimicking a posh accent.

“How much money do you need?” JJ said.

“No JJ,” Rianna said, shaking her head.

He wasn’t sure if she was scared or embarrassed at owing these goons money.

“Five hundred quid!” the bald one said as if throwing any figure out as a test.

Xavier came closer and touched his hand. The minute they touched they could hear each other’s thoughts. They’d practiced since they were children – A gift from their grandmother’s family.

After he and Xavier let each other know how much money they had with them in cash, JJ put up his hand. “One minute.”

The bloke waved him on to continue, still making fun of him, and Xavier disappeared to get the money. The two men exchanged a look.

Xavier returned in a few minutes and put a wad of money in the bald one’s hand. “It’s all there.”

The man still did a quick count and grinned. “Same time next week then, son.”

Rianna put her head in her hands. He wasn’t sure if it was because he’d paid for her, or because the bloke new he had a source of real money and was going to be back.

“No!” JJ said. When you come next time, it will be for the final balance. Do you understand?”

They turned to each other again. “Do you understand?” he mimicked again. “Can you believe this little shit?” Then his arm flew out and grabbed JJ by the throat.

 

Copyright T Stedman 2016

Young Atlanteans blog series – Chapter 2

New Cover (remember this is a work in progress)

The morning went by like a bad dream for Alexia. Their host brothers and sister had been excused and gone off to their classes, and they were all subdued. The Head Master insisted on showing them around the school himself, making them stand out even more than they did already. She was sure it was for their father’s benefit and wasn’t the norm.

 

They started their tour in the large reception area. Kids of all ages, colours and nationalities streamed through in two lines through two metal arches. “Oh look, airport thingy’s!” she said laughing. “Why do they need those?”

 

“Concealed weapons,” Xavier said in her ear.

 

Shocked, she looked at JJ for confirmation. He just raised his eyebrows without answering. She took that as a yes. “Shit!” She said a little too loudly.

 

A boy was pulled to the side, patted down and something was confiscated. “We have to ensure pupil safety,” the Head Master said in way of explanation.

 

Suddenly, their old school seemed a much better place, even though they’d been in a rush to leave it.

 

Xavier was grinning at her. He always took great enjoyment in annoying her. JJ was bored as usual.

 

Then followed endless departments – English, Maths, Art, etc. Everywhere looked dilapidated and needed fixing and a coat of paint.

 

Eventually, their depressing tour came to an end. The Head needn’t have bothered, one shabby classroom looked pretty much like another. He explained that science was their next class before lunch and gave them instructions on where they needed to go.

 

A bell rang signifying the end of the period and the corridor suddenly swarmed with so many kids they found it difficult to move. As obvious newbies, they were pushed all over the place. Xavier grabbed her arm so they weren’t separated. JJ shoved a couple of people back and got into some minor scuffles. Thankfully they were herded along until they reached a staircase. They grappled their way up to the second floor, along the corridor, to the classroom marked ‘Science 3’. Another bell sounded, the door opened and the kids behind them pushed them into the room.

 

Inside, the desks were arranged in two’s in three rows. Xavier pulled her along with him and they sat in a pair by the window. He was always protective of her. It felt more like possessiveness – especially around other boys. She was actually closer to JJ growing up, but they had grown apart lately. He sat behind them.

 

A balding man in glasses briskly entered the classroom and slapped his satchel onto the desk. Then he issued orders to open the windows.

 

Alexia sunk down in her chair when she saw his eyes rest on her and check in his folder. He closed it  and perched on the edge of the desk. “Don’t get too comfortable you lot, I want you to stand up.”

 

Everyone groaned, chairs scraped as the whole class stood.

 

“Hello, for those who don’t know me, my name is Mr Foster. I’m going to take the register and where I point to, is where i want you to sit. That is where you will sit every time you come to my class. You’re going to have to humour me, It helps me learn your names.”

 

He was about to start when the door opened and one of the boys they were staying with came in. “Dwayne Johnson, you’re late! You’re here,” he said, pointing at a desk just in front of Alexia. Then he pointed at her. “You are?”

 

“Alexia,” she said, blasting red with the spotlight on her.

 

He rolled his eyes. “Alexia who?”

 

“Dubonnetti,” she said, looking at Xavier to save her.

 

“You’re next to him.” He pointed to the vacant chair next to Dwayne.

 

“Excuse me,” Xavier said. “I am also a Dubonnetti, shouldn’t i be next to her?”

 

“No you will sit behind her.” His eyes were already back on his register and someone sniggered.

 

Alexia moved slowly into the seat next to Dwayne and looked at him warily as she sat. He smiled back at her but she averted her eyes. He seemed okay but she’d never been around ordinary Humans before. She swivelled in her chair to look for Jay and saw he was now near the back of the room. He chose to use his father’s name of Gardiner and not the royal name of Dubonnetti. He was stubborn like that.

 

“Right, open your exercise books at page thirty nine.”

 

Alexia looked around her; they hadn’t been given exercise books yet.

 

“Here … you can share mine,” Dwayne said, scratching his head awkwardly. His chair scraped as he moved in closer. Her eyes caught his and held them for a long moment. They were black and fathomless, but honest. He gave a small smile, which she returned shyly.

 

The door to the classroom opened and closed breaking the spell.

 

Dwayne looked over her shoulder at who’d come in and tutted. It was his sister Latitia.

 

“Sit!” the teacher said and pointed to the chair next to JJ. She moaned and he smirked.

 

Alexia didn’t miss that look, she knew it well. She glanced at Dwayne who’d clocked the same thing. “How come you and your sister are in the same class?” she said, to get his attention.

 

“I could ask you the same thing?”

 

He was right. All three of them were exactly the same age. It happened a lot with the royal children of Sirens. But he wasn’t to know that. For a moment she was lost for words.

 

“Twins,” he said answering her question with a smile.

 

She smiled awkwardly back. “Same.” This was going to be harder than she thought. He seemed quite nice, but she had no idea what he knew and she was sure she knew even less about him.

 

***

 

Xavier sat behind his sister and watched what was fast becoming flirting between her and her new foster brother, and he didn’t like it one bit. He wasn’t sure what was bothering him exactly – probably that she had never been interested in anyone before. This new school was unnerving. He’d never felt so far out of his comfort zone.

 

A boy was sat next to him and he’d forgotten his name already. He needed to get out of here and fast. His father already had the Head Master in his pocket. If they left it much longer it would be impossible to get expelled.

 

He turned in his seat to communicate with JJ, only to see him getting all gooey eyed over the girl Latitia. He’d seen it a hundred times at their old school, and turned back to face front in disgust. Was everyone taking leave of their senses? It was the look that got them into fights time and time again. Then he narrowed his eyes on his sister looking coyly at the boy again. Perhaps that was their ticket out of there.

 

***

 

JJ sat back in his chair and openly appraised Latitia. She was something he’d never come across in his life before. All he’d ever mixed with were other Atlanteans growing up, and they were invariably rich, royal or both. Even at the last school they were their Human counterparts. Spoiled little rich girls whose Daddy brought them everything and would save their pretty little arse should they balls-up their expensive education. All they did was parade around in designer clothes and bitch about their friends. The minute they opened their mouths he was bored.

 

This one reminded him of a dancer out of one of the rap videos he and Xavier loved to watch – all attitude and swagger, hot!

 

She turned and looked sideways at him when she sensed him watching her. She kissed her teeth loudly. “What’s the matter … not seen a black girl before?”

 

He grinned. “You’re not black, I’d say you were a milky coffee colour.”

 

She frowned as if he’d offended her, which made him laugh loudly.

 

“Care to share the joke with the class Jay Gardiner?” The teacher said loudly.

 

“My name’s JJ,” he said, turning back to Latitia as if he’d been rudely interrupted.

 

She didn’t turn around, but a scarlet red blush entered her cheeks and he knew he had an affect on her.

 

“Share your books with JJ, please Latitia,” Mr Foster said.

 

She huffed and slammed them down on the table between them.

 

He edged closer.

 

“We don’t want you here,” she whispered.

 

“Maybe not yet,” he said back. It was just a matter of time. The place had got whole lot more interesting.

 

***

 

“Hurry up mum, I’ve already missed maths and science. It’ll be lunch time by the time I get there.” Paige slammed down the phone.

 

Both her brothers were off sick today and her mum had to work. That meant the job of free babysitter fell to her. She tried to understand that her mum had to work two cleaning jobs, but it was really hard when she missed school. On days like today, she had to wait for her to come home to relieve her, and then rush back after school.

 

Her hopes rose with the door bell. She peered through the peephole just in case, and was met with an eyeball making her jump. “Jade!” she shouted throwing the door open. “Bloody hell, Jade, why ain’t you at school.

 

“I got up Late. Ew!” Jade said pointing at her five year old brother’s nose running with yellowy green snot.

 

“Hang on, mate,” Paige said, grabbing a fistful of toilet paper for him to blow on.

 

“I thought I’d come here first. When’s your mum home?”

 

“She reckoned by twelve.” A rattle and crunch of keys made both their heads turn. “That’s her.”

 

Her mum bustled in weighed down with a couple of shopping bags she’d humped all the way on the bus. “Hello, Jade.”

 

“Alright, Linda.”

 

“Get off then, you two.”

 

Paige didn’t need telling twice. She grabbed her coat and a dry slice of bread and they went out the door of the maisonette. At least it was only the first day so she wouldn’t have missed much.

 

They didn’t walk too fast to make sure they arrived after the dinner bell went. It was less agro that way. Paige had written her own excuse note saying she’d been at the dentist. Jade hadn’t bothered. The school would ring home, but her mum didn’t care.

 

“Thank god it’s the last year,” Jade said, as they walked in through the gates.

 

Paige just smiled at her friend. In some ways she envied her. All she wanted to do was leave school and get a job. Life was so simple and uncomplicated for her. Paige wanted more. She wanted out of this shit-hole. She’d decided years ago that she’d work hard, get her exams and some day be a doctor. It felt like an uphill battle at times, with all the missed days and having to catch up all the time.

 

A feeling of hopelessness descended on her when they walked into the school canteen. Jade shot off to chat to someone she’d seen. Paige sat down alone at one of the trestle tables and fumbled in her bag for change. Maybe she could scrape up enough for some chips. With her hand in the crumbs and crap at the bottom, she absently looked ahead of her. That was when she caught sight of him. He was sitting with another boy and a girl. They were all silently apart from the madness around them. Alone and beautiful, all three of them. But he stood out completely.

 

Jade came back with several friends chatting animatedly. She slammed down a plate of chips between them and followed her line of vision. “You owe me 70p. Who are they?”

 

“Not sure,” one of the other’s said.

 

“They turned up this morning.”

 

“They don’t look like they come from around here.”

 

No they didn’t. They all could be models. Her boy (As she referred to him from then on) looked latin and completely exotic. The girl was obviously his sister, thankfully. The other boy was blond, good looking and totally different to the other two.

 

He must have felt them watching as he turned to look and their eyes met. Completely captured, she wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. His eyes were the most unusual shade of green she’d ever seen. He neither smiled nor looked away. They just openly stared at each other until they were joined by one of the Johnson brothers who was in the year above them. He brought back a tray of drinks for them all, and the boy finally looked away.

 

Bloody hell, her heart was beating like a train. Who the hell were they? No one had had an impact on her like that in her life before. She’d never been interested. She tried to shake herself out of it, because she was now, and that just wasn’t in her five year plan.

 

Her eyes strayed to their table again. The Johnsons obviously knew them, and somehow she just had to get to know them too.

 

Copyright T Stedman 2016

***

Young Atlanteans – Two Tribes – Part 1

breakdancer Meeting the Opposition 

 

Xavier was daydreaming out of the blacked out window of the limo as it edged through the rush hour traffic. Two Santalini guardsmen rode in the front, four in the SUV escorting them ahead, and another four behind. Professor Max Brunswick, his father’s Human advisor, sat in the back with the three of them.

 

“How are we supposed to blend in arriving like this?” Xavier said, tutting.

 

JJ nodded in agreement.

 

“We will be very early, and it’s just for your first day,” Max explained.

 

Xavier frowned. They’d spent the night at Jay senior’s hotel in Soho. He just assumed they would be based there while they were at school.

 

“No, you’ll live here. It’s simply not practical to do this journey every morning. Your father thought it not time efficient or safe.”

 

“Oh no, does that mean we’ll have to board with a load of Chavs?” Alexia said, pulling a face at the dirty shop fronts and grimy bricked buildings of south London.

 

“This isn’t a boarding school,” Max said without elaborating.

 

Xavier and JJ had googled the school as soon as they’d finished the meeting with their fathers a few days before. It was a regular everyday secondary school, ethnically diverse, and about second to last in the league tables for the whole of England. Their father was pulling their leg. They would go through this charade and pitch up in front of the posh boarding school in keeping with their royal status. Now Xavier wasn’t so sure.

 

JJ looked across their sister at him obviously thinking the same thing. “Where are we staying then?”

 

“With a local family just a ten minute walk from the school. Your father has arranged everything. Your bags will be taken there while you are at school, then when your day finishes you will go back there, okay?”

 

“Oh no!” Alexia whined. “Surely we’ll get lost or kidnapped in the ghetto.”

 

Xavier laughed and JJ shook his head. Their sister was so dramatic. She would make sure she was treated like a princess where ever they ended up.

 

“Don’t worry unduly, Alexia. The kind lady you will be lodging with has three children at the school. They’ll be able to show you about the place.”

 

They all looked at each other more uneasy by the minute. The whole thing was becoming a nightmare. Their old school in New Hampshire didn’t seem such a bad place after all.

 

“What’s her name – this woman looking after us?” Alexia asked on the verge of tears. “I guess she must have a big house with us three and kids of her own,” she said, looking at him hopefully.

 

“Her name is Valerie Johnson.” He said nothing about the size of the house.

 

“And the kids?” Xavier said, watching Max’s discomfort closely.

 

“Erm …” Max opened his briefcase and sifted through some papers. “Ah, here it is. Patrick, Latitia and Dwayne.

 

Xavier and JJ exchanged another look. Surely this must be some kind of Joke. It was fast becoming like some comedy sketch.

 

Xavier sat back in his seat and smiled to himself. This wouldn’t be for long. He knew his father. This was just a ploy to teach them a lesson. It was all to make them grateful and appreciate their old school when they’re sent back. “Chill out, Lexie. We’ll be out of here soon.” Yeah, two weeks – a month tops.

 

JJ sat and brooded as usual.

 

***

 

Their motorcade was waved by police into the staff carpark as if they were visiting foreign dignitaries.  It was so conspicuous that peopled stopped in the street to see who it was. They stopped right in front of the steps to the main doors where they got out hurriedly and were ushered in by their guards wearing headsets and microphones.

 

A middle aged man in a tweed jacket and beard met them and introduced himself as Mr Lingham, Deputy Head, and Head of English. He led the way down the old parquet floored corridors that smelled of boiled cabbage and sick.

 

JJ bit down his hate for the place. It wasn’t that he was a snob and wanted a better school, he didn’t want any school. He knew who he was and what he was meant to become, and didn’t need all this bollocks. It was his two fathers’ way of brining him down a peg or two. This whole exercise was a waste of everyone’s time. To hell with it. He’d just go along with it and go his own way anyway. If they wanted to waste their money then let them. It made no difference to who he was wherever they sent him. He didn’t give a shit where he lived or who with. HIs life was preordained anyway. In short, there was no point in getting involved, making connections, or weighing himself down.

 

Mr Lingham knocked on the shabby door with a crocked ‘Head’ sign on it.

 

“Come in,” a deep voice said.

 

My Lingham held open the door and they followed Max into the office. A huge cheerful black man stood up from behind his desk and couldn’t look more like Professor Clump if he tried. JJ looked at Xavier who gave a small smile of recognition back.

 

“Please sit,” the headmaster said, indicating three chairs opposite him. Another was brought for Max. Mr Lingham perched on the edge of a sideboard. Four of their guards stood, arms crossed at the back of their room, which was ludicrous as they would leave them to fend for themselves when this meeting was over.

 

The headmaster smiled at each of them in turn. “Hello, I know who you all are, I am Doctor Henry, your head teacher. Your fathers have explained everything, and I understand you will be staying with a local family, which i’m sure will be fabulous. I want you all to feel right at home here.” HIs laugher boomed, even though there was nothing funny. The guy just seemed really upbeat and positive. Heaven knew why in this shit hole.

 

JJ yawned.

 

The headmaster narrowed his eyes on him, not missing a thing. “I can see we have an active mind here. We’ll soon have that put to good use. Can’t have you getting bored now can we?”

 

Alexia sniggered. Xavier hid a smile behind his hand. The guy was a smart aleck – so what?

 

“Let me welcome you, and let you know how pleased we are to have you all here.”

 

“Thank you Dr Henry,” Max said. “Here is the first donation to the school from the children’s father. I trust it is in order?” Max passed a small envelope to the headmaster, who took it with a smile.

 

The room was silent while he took out his letter opener, slit it, and took out what looked like a cheque. His eyes went wide before he could school his features. “Bloody hell,” he choked. Then rubbed his two chins. “Please pass on my sincerest thanks.”

 

“His Highness thought it would go some way to help in refurbishing the sports facilities here?”

 

“Of course,” Dr Henry said, still not believing his eyes.

 

Xavier and JJ exchanged a worried look. Suddenly the move here wasn’t looking that temporary.

 

A knock at the door brought their eyes back the the headmaster. Max took it as his cue to leave and the guards stepped forward. “We will leave you to your day, Dr Henry,” Max said.

 

“Very good, that will be the children’s new brothers and sister,” Dr Henry said, laughing.

 

JJ baulked. Not likely, this would be good. Time to suss out the opposition.

 

Max went out with the guards and JJ heard them come in, but he didn’t turn round.

 

“Come here where we can all see you?” Dr Henry said. The three joined him next to the desk.

 

JJ locked eyes with each of the boys straight away. There was no way he’d give an impression of weakness.

 

Both boys were black, with trendy shaved haircuts and light eyes. They were big good looking guys and knew it. Each wore a pair of Beats earphones left loosely around their necks. They had on large baggy jackets over low slung jeans showing the tops of their shorts. That was as far as his study of the boys got, before a bubblegum pop brought his head round to the girl.

 

He was vaguely aware of Xavier and Alexia saying hello. He was too busy taking in the girl’s long cane-rowed hair and hooped earnings the size of saucers. Her eyes were the lightest grey he’s ever seen and she had smooth skin the colour of caramel.

 

She looked him up down, blew another bubble and raised an eyebrow.

 

A small smile crept over his face. Well hello …

 

***

Latitia

Copyright T Stedman 2016

 

 

 

Young Atlanteans Blog Series starts today!

young atlanteans

Prologue

 

Ballygowan Castle – West coast of Ireland

 

“Send them in.” The Irish voice of the king came through the door to the old library.

 

The Santalini Guard opened the door, pushing it wide and winking as the three teenagers trouped inside.

 

They stood in front of Dante, the Atlantean king, seated behind the huge oak desk. He didn’t speak or look up from his papers, but made them wait like naughty kids.

 

His best friend sat in a large leather sofa to his right, looking straight at them but giving nothing away.

 

It was a weird setup – even they knew that. The two men acted as father to all three of them and they shared a mother. Xavier and Alexia were Dante’s kids, and Jay Junior, was Jay’s.

 

The minutes ticked on.

 

“Where’s mum?” Alexia said, eventually. “Shouldn’t she be here for this?”

 

The king sighed, put down his pen, and looked at her over the rim of his glasses. She recognized the look in his eye. There was no bending him today. He was still a strikingly good-looking man, at almost forty, with his hair beginning to grey. It still curled and reached his shoulders. But when he meant business, there was no winding him around her little finger.

 

“I don’t remember giving you permission to speak, Alexia?”

 

She huffed and rested her weight on the other hip. She went to protest again, but the king held up a hand. “Shut up girl, your mother is fully aware of what is going to happen today.”

 

The three of them stood a little straighter. Everything had suddenly got serious. If their mother wasn’t there it meant the king had made up his mind about something and he didn’t want to be swayed. There was no telling what he would do. People often remarked on how their father was tinged with a little madness. Some said it was from all the power that surged through him, but their mother had scoffed, and said he had always been like that.

 

Jay was like a second father to all three of them. He was the quieter one out of the two. But that just made him even harder to read than Dante, and absolutely no help to them right now. They were in trouble.

 

“You – Xavier! You’re the oldest. You can explain what the hell you were all playing at?”

 

Xavier closed his eyes. How the hell could he explain to their two fathers what JJ was like when he was away from them? He and JJ were brothers, but JJ? He was a boy hell-bent on self-destruction. He was quiet and morose around other kids and determined not to fit in. He decided to wing it. “I’m not sure what you’re asking for exactly, dad?”

 

Alexia giggled.

 

“Are you trying to be funny with me, son?” the king said glaring at him.

 

He looked at Jay senior for some help and just saw a blank unreadable face.

 

“What happened at the school?” Jay said, in his quiet reasonable voice.

 

He was met with silence.

 

“Maybe JJ can shed some light?”

 

Xavier sagged in relief the heat was off him.

 

JJ just shrugged. “I dunno … just didn’t get on there.”

 

“Xavier!” the king barked.

 

“Like he said,” but he couldn’t look his father in the eye.

 

Dante laughed mirthlessly and shook his head. “Have you any idea how bad this looks? The bloody US government gave our nation those school places for you and all your cousins, to train you into the diplomats you’re meant to one day become. For Feck’s sake, it’s part of the treaty between our two races that you integrate.”

 

Xavier shifted uncomfortably.

 

JJ stared blankly ahead of him as if it made no difference to him.

 

Alexia was looking at her nails. “Why can’t we go to school in Murrtaine … Kiefer and Dannon go?”

 

“You don’t learn about the Human world there,” Jay said softly.

 

“Neither do you with home schooling. It’s turning you into spoiled brats,” Dante said. His thick Irish accent as strong as it ever was.

 

“I won’t go back there,” JJ said, looking the king insolently in the eye.

 

Dante laughed in a single blast, and looked at Jay as if to ask ‘can you believe this kid’. Then he looked back at him amused. “Hey, you wont have to, son. After you went though the whole of the eleventh grade females like a pair Whirling Dervishes and subsequently ruining the end of the first semester ‘meet and greet’ by starting a western bar brawl with the boys, they won’t have you back.”

 

“None of that was me?” Alexia said.

 

“No, you like to stir it up, Alexia, and you certainly didn’t help,” Dante said, withering her with a look. “Now get out me sight,” he said with a flick of his hand.

 

They went to turn to leave, but Xavier paused and looked over his shoulder. “You haven’t told us what’s going to happen?”

 

Dante smiled with narrowed eyes. “That’s right, I almost forgot. The three of you can pack your things. You’ll be starting a new school on Monday.”

 

They all groaned.

 

“Where?” JJ asked.

 

“London!” Jay and Dante said together.

 

JJ swore under his breath and exchanged a look with Xavier. “I’m not going to another poncy posh school,” JJ said.

 

Dante grinned wickedly. “Well that’s good then, coz you’re going to the Marcus Garvey High School in South London. You’ll be fine there.”

 

JJ looked over at his father to make sure it wasn’t a joke. He just raised his eyebrows. He never lost the no nonsense look about him, and JJ knew it was pointless to even protest. He followed the others out the room.

 

***

 

When the door clicked shut, Jay looked over at Dante. “You think they’ll settle any better there?” He was skeptical.

 

Dante bobbed his head, “Probably not, but we can get our people in there to keep an eye on them and if anything happens it’ll remain under the radar. This time, we’ll be in control.

 

“What about the other cousins. Their parents might not like out choice in school” he said with a small smile.

 

Dante nodded and grinned, like he was going to enjoy every minute of it. He’d been the same since he was a kid.

 

“And there’s Ronnie,” Jay reminded him.

 

“Ah, he’ll be alright. He’s a good kid … might get some sense into our two.”

 

They both smiled and were quiet for a few moments.

 

“We’ll let these three go for starters, then filter the others in when they settle down a bit. That should keep the parents quiet for now.”

 

Jay felt weary and pinched the bridge of his nose. “What do you think is going on with those two?” He wasn’t daft. You could feel the friction between the two boys.

 

Dante topped up their drink. “Apart from being chips off the old block, you mean?” he laughed. “No, I think we have ourselves a little power struggle going on there.”

 

Jay nodded sagely. “That’s what I thought.” Then he looked sideways at his friend. “Hence the school?”

 

Dante nodded grinning. “I think it could be just the right place.”

 

Jay sighed and knocked back his drink. I hope you’re right …

 

Ballygowan castle

(Ballygowan castle)

 

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Young Atlanteans – Blog series

young atlanteans

Something i’ve been toying with for a long while is running a series on my blog, rather like a soap opera. I wanted to appeal to a younger readership so the natural progression was to tell the story of the offspring of the Sirens and their mates.

I’m going to try not to give any spoilers from the Adult series, but youngsters will appear who haven’t yet been revealed in the books.

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Here’s a few of the characters – (Nic Pletts by Andree Martis and Demian Dupuis) Is JJJJ

(model Francisco Lachowski) is Xavier

Xavier

And this beautiful girl is Alexia (model unknown)

Alexia

Other characters you will know are: –

Ronnie (Sarah and Sean’s boy)

Kiefer and Dannon (Isla and Darres)

New ones to meet, not yet revealed in the books are: –

Raphael, Talia, Edan, Ashling, Leif, Fleur, Isadora, Kenji, Dorian and Leonie.

Thats 16 kids full of ‘teen spirit’.

Set in the future

It’s been a few years since the end of the last book in the 21st Century Sirens series. The kids of all the main players are almost grown up. Most have been home schooled together at the castle, a few have gone to school in Murrtaine. A shaky truce still exists between the Atlantean king and the Human governments. Neither want to risk a further return form their Atlasian ancestors.

The time has come when the youngsters need to learn what the world is all about. After all, they will rule the earth one day, so it makes sense for them to mix and learn from their subjects. The Human governments are insisting on it.

At first they are placed in the prestigious Phillips Granger School in New Hampshire in the USA. They find it hard to settle and fit in. Then, after a council meeting held by the king, an inner London secondary school is chosen. The royal families are up in arms over it, insisting that it is not fitting for the station of their youngsters, but the parents, many of whom grew up in areas just as tough, think it is the perfect place for them to learn, flourish and stay under the radar.

And so it is all organised. The sixteen Atlantean progeny are to start at the ethnically diverse, Marcus Garvey, in Lambeth, South London.

Ooh, i can’t wait!