The Tales of Jerome James: Story 1


5 May 1793

I have never been well liked by Aston’s elder siblings, Caprica and Cearra.  And yet strangely enough, Cearra was being civil to me.  That was probably because my brother Benjamin was with us.  Cearra fancied Benjy for eons.  But for the first time, I think Benjy fancies Cearra as well.  Oh how Byrne would yell when we returned home.  Byrne, like me, was never well liked by the Washington sisters.  That is probably because of a mud fight accident that the two of us were involved in.  We were scolded for weeks after that.

Benjy probably liked Cearra’s gown.  Or, I tried to convince myself of that.  We just got home from church.  Byrne, Mum, and Dad were at home.  Benjy, Crispin, and I attended church with the Washingtons, to my dismay.

“Is this not the most ridiculous thing you have ever witnessed?” I asked Crispin.

Even though I had not been talking to him, Aston turned to me.  He was upset because of a silly row we got into.  He thinks his family is wealthier than mine.  Well, it may or may not be true.

“Yes, it is most ridiculous.  Cearra is out of his… league.  Why she shows any interest in Benjamin, I know not.”

I faced him.  “Listen here, and listen well!  Do not speak of my brother in an ill manner!”

“Be nice, Jerome,” said Benjy, strolling to me.  He and Cearra were arm in arm.

“Yes, Jerome,” said Cearra in a sickening sweet voice.  “Do be nice to my brother.  What has he done to you?”

I scowled at Cearra.  She gave me a mega-watt smile.  I loathed her.

“I had better go,” said Crispin.

“Yes.  Do tell your mother I said ‘hello,'” I told Crispin.

“I shall see you soon, Aston, Cearra,” I said.

“Wait- what?” asked Benjy, getting confused.

“I bid you farewell,” I said rather dramatically if I do say so myself.  And then, I sprinted off.

I suppose Benjy detached himself from Cearra’s clutches because I heard him running behind me.  “You mustn’t go home alone!”  I was faster than Benjy.  I could outrun him and Byrne.  I soon lost him in the square.

I saw Mrs. Brookestone.  “How do you do, Mrs. Brookestone?”

“Why, Master James!” she exclaimed, carrying three shopping bags.  “What a pleasant surprise!  Where are your parents and your brothers?”

I took two of her grocery bags into my arms.  “Mother, Father, and Byrne are at home.  Benjamin is with the Washingtons at the Old Crown apartment complex.”

“Oh dear.  Aren’t you all spread out.”

“Yes.  It is a nice break, though.  Getting away from Byrne.  He can be a pain sometimes,” I said, walking with Mrs. Brookestone to her home.

“Yes, I suppose it is.  How are the Washingtons?”

I tried not to look at her, because if I had, she would have seen the look of utter disgust etched onto my features.  “They… they are well.  Have you, er, not seen them recently?”

“Ah, well.  You know the Washingtons.  I do not think I am their cup of tea, my dear.”

I squinted up at her.  “I do not wish to pry, but why?”

“Well… Let us say that the Washingtons and the Brookestones have not had a pleasant history,” said Mrs. Brookestone with a faraway look in her eyes.  I tried to remember to ask Mum about that.

“Mrs. Brookestone, we have reached your house,” I said.

“Oh, yes!” she laughed.  “I have much to do.  Your parents and a few other guests are visiting.  George and I have a lot of preparing to do.”  She reached for the two bags I was carrying.  “Thank you, Jerome, for accompanying me to my house.  You have been nothing but great company.”

“The pleasure was all mine, Mrs. Brookestone,” I said with pride.

“Good day, Master James.”

“Same to you.”  I turned and saw that three boys from my school had followed me to Mrs. Brookestone’s house.  They were rude, rowdy, and had no class, whatsoever.

“How sweet of you, James, walking old Brookestone home,” said a short plump boy.  Richard Rowan.

“How sweet of you, Rowan, to follow me there.  You must care a great deal about me.”

“You wish, James,” said a tall, skinny-as-sticks boy, Jonah Alexander.

“Why don’t you just leave me alone?  Why are you obsessed with every move I make?” I asked.  That was the wrong thing to say.  In a flash, I was on the ground, being pinned down by Richard and another boy, Chad Ainsworth.  Jonah knelt down beside me.  I did not want to shout, to scream for help, because I would be bothered every day.

“Jerome?” called a familiar voice.

I sighed in relief.  “Benjy, will you get these Neanderthals off of me?”

Benjy approached us, and Richard, Jonah, and Chad scurried off.  Benjy helped me up and we started walking home.

“Mum would have been mad at me… no, what is the word for beyond mad?” asked Benjy.

“I’m sorry, Benjy, but it is your own fault.  You think I want to see you and Cearra like that?”

“Like what?”

“You fancy her, right?” I asked, mildly confused.

I suppose my confusion was contagious.  “What are you talking about, Jerome?  Me fancy Cearra Washington?”

“Er… yes?”

“Jerome, that is nonsense.  Mum wanted me to get to know her.”

I sighed.  I guess I do not know half of what goes on in my house.  Oh well.  Until next time…

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