l was taught to be a good man; a gentleman. Hold doors open for others, not just women. Say "please" and "thank you". My mom would scream at me if I wasn't polite and respectful, especially out in public. She must be rolling around in her grave these days. 
You must think my story is a bad one, like a romantic love story about a girl that falls in love too quickly. However, mine's way different. You know, you read those books all the time about the love and the romance, but you don't often read about their lives and about how they got to where they are in life. 
This is our story.


9. Chapter Nine

School nights. When I was younger, I wouldn't be allowed out past six at night. I would have to do my homework before I went anywhere. Oh, how times have changed. Still, I can't stay out past ten, Amanda's rules not dad's. I think she finally caught on to the whole "big boy" saying because now she doesn't ask "do you know what time it is, Mister?" Instead, she waits up and just says, "go to bed, Jackson."

Amanda was always involved in my life somehow. She was my kindergarten teacher, then quit that job, became my baseball coach's girlfriend and then they broke up. Then she became my dad's closest friend, then my mom died. Two years after she died, Amanda and my dad got married and at the age of seven, I had a thirteen year old step-sister and a new mom. My dad just recently explained to me how Amanda has known me since birth because her brother and my dad were stationed together in the military. 

"Jackson, honey, can you help me with these bags please?" I groaned but followed her outside the apartment building. "Oh, damn, I forgot to run to the charity center for Gramp." Gramp. Grandpa. Gramp is a bursting bubble, especially when he goes somewhere. 

"You have fun with that. You tell him I say hi," 

"Jackson Anthony,"

"What? I've got plans I can't cancel. Plus, I got boot camp," total lie. Well, the plans are true but boot camp is an absolute lie. 

"Hon, have you told your friends about the army yet?"

"Nope. Amanda, have you met my friends?"

She shook her head, "no, I haven't met them. You refuse to bring anybody over besides the usual Jason and Nick. Oh, and Natalia. Jason and Natalia are dating still, right? Oh, they're adorable together."

"Yes, but I have a girlfriend."

"You do?! Is that why the box of condoms in the bathroom is almost empty? Honey, it's great you're being safe but you got to tell me when you're running low so I can restock."

"No, I don't," I stopped myself, "I don't use those,"

"Must be Emily then, her and Glenn. Lord knows it's not your father-"

"Okay, end of conversation. Goodbye. Got things to do. See you tonight. Bringing my girlfriend over."

"You said what!?"

"Okay, I know it sounds a bad, but she was going on and on about Emily and Glenn and the fucking condoms going missing and I just got tired,"

"So you told your mom I would come over tonight? I can't do that!"

"Step-mom, babe."

"Cause that makes things better. Jack, I can't meet your family, we've been dating for two days. And anyways, I have a trip to plan." Our spring break trip to Amber's lake house in Lake George. I said it was a bad idea since all of my ex girlfriends will be in the same room for a week with nothing to talk about but me.

"Great, you can talk about it with my parents. Babe, come on. Amanda is making her best dinner and my dad's cleaning up and shaving. Please, don't make me beg,"

"No, don't beg. I'll do it but you owe me, got it? You owe me... tomorrow at school. In the morning,"

I sighed, "I can't do mornings. I have a thing before school but I can do anytime after Twelve,"

"Why can't you do mornings? We have school,"

"Yeah, its school related. But how about you meet me at my truck at twelve fifteen and I can owe you then?"

"Fine," I smiled as kissed her check.

"Am, dad wants you. Hi, Jackson," ambers brother said.

"Hey, kid. How's school going?"

"Not good. I got out into special classes because they think I'm autistic."

"Which you're not. Mom and your dad and Vincent all went down to the school. We talked about this," Amber's mom, Lilliana, wasn't the best mom to Amber or Mikey. She lived on the streets and in halfway houses with drug dealers. I wouldn't be shocked if she took drugs while pregnant and I wouldn't be surprised if Mikey was autistic because of it. He's a great kid though. Very smart and funny. He resembles Amber a little. Just a little. Their eyes are the same. Amber looks more like her mom, with her curly hair and the dark skin. But Mikey must resemble his dad more because he has blonde hair and his skin isn't as dark.

Ambers mom is more on the darker side with dark brown skin but she has that glow to her skin that makes her pretty and look younger. Amber is almost the spitting image of her mom.

"Alright, Mikey, keep Jackson company while gone, alright?"

"Are you having sexual intercourse with my sister?" I froze. "I see you leaving her bedroom at night half dressed,"

"No, I'm not having sexual int... no, alright, no."

"Then why do you leave in only a shirt?"

"Because... Amber, hurry up!"

"Amber sat down next to me as my family joined the table. Dad looked at us carefully and Amanda just smiled.

"I'm starving. Amber, want some meatloaf?" She nodded

"So, Amber, Jackson tells me you want to go to college for architectural design. I find that interesting. You don't hear that from kids these days,"

"Yeah. I'm an artist, so i figured what a good way to do something I love in a job form,"

"Valise," my dad said. I felt Amber tense next to me. "Salvatore Valise. Lilliana Fray. Tammi Valise. Amber Valise,"

"Valise? Aaron, wasn't that the guy who fired you?" Amanda asked.

"I knew I recognized you. Your father is Salvatore Valise."

"You know, I should get going. I promised my mom movie night,"

"And this is why I don't bring people over." I followed Amber outside and watched as she paced the hallway.

"Your das knows my whole family, Jackson. My sister. My mom. My dad. Nobody knows my dad except Talia,"

"Hey, it's okay. My dad has a tendency of doing that. When he first met Jason, he called him out because of his dad. You shouldn't worry about him. Honestly, he's a little walked out ever since he came back from war years ago. You really shouldn't worry,"

"Okay, let's say my dad mentioned the name Johannah Phillips. Would you freak out?"

"Am, your dad is known by a lot of people, calm down. He was a business man, didn't do the business people would think but he was a business man. He's well-known,"

She nodded, "you're right, yeah."

"Can we go back in now? I can clear things up with my dad and it'll be fine after that. I'm sure Amanda is yelling at him as we speak."

"Dude, mom is going wack on your dad. And I mean sack. Might wanna tell her she's staying," Emily said as she opened the door. Emily Elyse Rae. The world's most two sides person. One second she's so sweet and rainbows and bunnies, the next minute she's mean and arrows and death. Amanda says it's her hormones, however, I believe it's the devil trying to get out of her. And that's why I get slapped above the head a lot. But Emily is honestly an awesome sister. She buys me things and takes me on joy rides with her boyfriend.

"Guys, she's staying," I announced.

"Oh, good. I'm so sorry honey. Aaron sometimes blurts things out,"

"Amanda, dad. Ambers parents are Vincent and Lilliana York. Her siblings are Tammi York, Mikey York and Leo York. Amber's dad is a high class doctor in Manhattan and her mom is a teacher at an elementary school. Salvatore Valise. Lilliana Fray. Tammi Valise and Amber Valise. They don't exist anymore. They're York's just like we're Phillips' and Amanda and Emily are Rae's."

Amanda smiled and nodded, "Amber York. If I were to ever have another girl I was gonna name her Amber Johannah. What's you're middle name?"

"Lee. Well, Leighanne, named after my grandma, but Amber Leighanne doesn't sound right so I go by Lee,"

"Beautiful name for a beautiful young lady. Now, I made pie and Jackson, you better eat it."

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