Flicking past Page Three

Chapter 1: Moving on… again.

"Eddie, please stop poking Liz in her ears-I don't exactly appreciate the sounds of strangled cats ringing in my ears." I commented flippantly, leaning my head against the cool glass window of the rattling vehicle, gazing at the trees whirring past it.

"I do not sound like a-stop it Edward! You idiot!" Lizzie slapped Edward across the head as she leant over her seatbelt, messing up his already messed up raven black hair even more. I glanced at the reflection of her in the glass, her curly dark blonde hair ruffled slightly too. She turned to me with a sour look on her face, while I didn't bother to remove my eyes from the scenery outside the car door. "It's not exactly like I can help it, Jane, when Edward keeps trying to mess up my hair."

Slowly, my eyes peeled themselves away from where I was previously looking to Edward, who was continuously grinning like a three year old who had eaten a secret stash of chocolate, despite him being fourteen. "Stop irritating your sister."

"Can't help it." He smirked. "I'm too hyped up to see our new house… or should I say mansion? That guy that mum's married is loaded." He emphasised this through waving his arms around in a large, roundabout gesture. "You think mum'll buy me an Xbox 360 now?"

I sighed. "We're not rich. The man that's marrying mum is. You can't just start taking his money and start buying Xbox 360s now that they're married."

"I only want to buy one." He whined. "Plus, since they signed the contract, all the money is split between the two of them… sucker!" He stuck his tongue out. "We'll be as rich as kings… and queens, of course… if we include Fitz."

The driver of the car stopped at the traffic lights and flicked his head round to narrow his eyes at Edward. "If you want me to crash, causing your bloody body to be swung, head on, into the front window of my car, then by all means keep insulting me like that."

To that, Eddie rolled his eyes. "Your words don't scare me."

"They should. You haven't seen me when I'm really angry." Fitz retorted. That was true-he was, more often than not, calm and gentle in his demeanour, rarely allowing himself to get angry or if he was, show it. He was the second oldest of us all and most definitely the cleverest; eighteen and had already won over a dozen academic awards. He was a bit of a geek, in all honesty, but he wasn't ever bullied for it because he was too likeable-teased, maybe, but that was the extent of it.

The oldest of us was Arthur, or 'AJ', as known by his band mates. He's twenty and currently touring the UK with his band 'Ghost Acid'… no idea what that name means. He's dyed his hair so many times I don't know what his true hair colour is and he has a spider web tattoo on his shoulder. I haven't seen him for two years, so I don't know him as well as I do the rest of my brothers and sisters. He said he'd come and visit us at our new house soon, but we have all learnt to not fall back on his words, since they are not often the truth.

Before I say anymore, I must mention the story behind why we got the names we did. You see, our mum thought it would be great to name us after her favourite characters in her novels. For instance, Arthur is named after Arthur Clennam in 'Little Dorrit'; Lizzie after Elizabeth Bennett in 'Pride and Prejudice'; Fitz after Fitzwilliam Darcy in 'Pride and Prejudice'; Edward after Edward Rochester in 'Jane Eyre'; and me after Jane Eyre in 'Jane Eyre'. Though, what I do find odd is that my Mum decided to give me and Edward, and Lizzie and Fitz the names of the lovers in the books… which is slightly incestuous, but oh well.

We don't all have the same fathers as each other; AJ and Fitz both have the same dad, Liz and Edward have the same father and I'm the odd one out with the random guy. Liz and Edward's dad is the only one that keeps in contact though; AJ and Fitz's dad lost contact a long time ago while I don't even know who my father is because I was the result of a one night stand. I don't mind though, obviously. I have enough brothers to not want an extra guy to come in and act 'daddy' to me.

Though, unfortunately, guy number forty five is on the door step of our newly polished mansion with an arm around my mother's shoulders and a sleazy grin on his face… Okay, maybe not, but I can just imagine him being like that. I mean, most of the guys that my mum goes out with are complete slime balls, so why wouldn't this one be? To tell the truth, this was what I was thinking when I turned down her invitation to go to the wedding with some stupid excuse. Lizzie and Fitz went to the wedding though; according to Lizzie, he's quite handsome, and had a son who was pretty tall, but didn't bother saying hi and stood in the corner the whole time, arms crossed over his chest.

"I'm really not looking forward to school." Edward muttered amidst the silence. "I do not want to have another magazine picture of mum's tits shoved in my face."

"Well," Lizzie frowned, "I guess if we just don't say anything to anyone about what our mum does and say that her name's 'Frankie' instead of 'Isabella' to put people 'off the scent', then they won't bother us as much as at the other god knows how many schools we've been at."

"They'll find out sooner or later, you know." I chipped in, brushing the hair from my eyes with my fingers. "So what's the point?"

Our mum has been a topless model for Nuts, FHM… you name it, she's been in it. She's been in the job for a long time and at the age of thirty six, she's finally thinking of retiring from it all and becoming a good ol' house wife. She's not dumb, though; she's mistaken a lot of the time for being a BBNB (Blonde Bimbo, No Brain) but she's often reading some really intense book like 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell or 'The DaVinci Code' when she's on set, waiting before it's her time to pose. She's always told me that she feels like she has to have some intellect to balance out her life, since her job doesn't exactly require her to think much.

"The point is that it'll give us more time to not be bombarded by pictures of our mum's breasts as we trudge into school every morning." Lizzie shrugged, her golden curls spilling off of her shoulders and down her back. "By the time that they find out about mum, she will have divorced this guy and we'll be on to our new school."

"That's rather negative of you, Lizzie." Fitz stated, glancing in the rear mirror. "For all you know, mum could've found her fairy tale ending."

She rolled her eyes at him, but didn't bother saying anything because she could hear the undercurrent of sarcasm in his words. All of us knew that it wouldn't work; she had been with so many guys, where a lot of them seemed nice at the beginning, but they all turned out to be bastards in the end.

Finally, Fitz's clamped out Ford turned to the right of the roundabout and onto a long, cream-coloured stone path leading up to some ridiculously large, black, iron gates. There was an intercom to our left. Fitz noticed it and got out of the car to press the round scarlet button just below it, before inclining his head down towards the speaker and saying something. There were a lot of hedges smothering the landscape, all cut to precise cuboids. There were a few large houses down this road, all different in their tastes, but not at all mine; one included a large statue of a marble dog with a gold collar on their front lawn.

The door slammed shut as Fitz turned the engine on; causing it to rumble as the 'majestic' gates began to slowly reveal what would be our new home for the next however so long. I found my lips shaping into a small 'o' as my eyes widened at the pepper stone walls of the building, ebony panels criss-crossing across it. It seemed more like a large cottage/mini castle rather than the pearly mansion that I had been expecting. For the first time since my mum had announced we were moving here, I felt my brain churning in interest.

"Huh!?" I heard Eddie exclaim in disappointment. "I thought this guy was supposed to be rich! Why the hell are we going to live in a place like this?" He crossed his arms in a very childish way, purposefully sticking out his bottom lip. "I doubt this place even has chandeliers." If he wasn't my brother, I would never have thought that he was fourteen.

Lizzie knit her eyebrows together. "I'm sure this must just be his holiday home."

A heavy sigh came from the driver's seat. "This isn't his holiday home."

She pursed her lips, but again refrained from saying anything, despite her being so bitterly disappointed. I expect both she and Eddie had fabricated that our new stepfather had a fairy tale palace with servants and the whole shebang.

The wheels of the car came to a halt outside the large, mahogany, front door. The metal clanged as we swung the doors of the vehicle closed, stepping out under the rays of the sun. It was quite a nice day, so it had been a shame to be stuck inside the confinements of Fitz's, rattling, moving object. To be fair, he had bought it with his own money, which he raised through doing shifts at a local retail shop. Still, it was pretty bad. And it looked even worse in front of such a place as this.

Without warning, the front door was thrown open to reveal our mother, her grin as wide as a kid whose lips are prised apart by cotton wool and mouth guards when getting braces put on. Her cobalt eyes enlarged in pure excitement as her arms began to rise above her blonde ringlets, squealing (yes, squealing) in excitement. "Kids!" And like a herd of sheep, we followed obediently into her arms. She gripped us in a fierce hug, so much so that I worried for my life, since I appeared to be on the point of suffocation. "I've missed you lot sooo much! You have to all tell me what you got up to while I was on my honeymoon. Every little detail, you understand?!" She told us, loosening her grip on us, thankfully.

"Honey…" She called, tilting her head towards the doorway she had appeared from. "The kids are here…"

A few footsteps later, a broad-shouldered, sharp-featured man was stood beside her. I guess he could have been described has handsome; very manly, I guess, with his hard jaw, thin lips and flurry of unruly charcoal hair on his head, accompanied by the stubble on his chin.

"Ah, so these are all the guys you talk about so much. I'm Chris." He grinned. "Come in and you all can meet Jake. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to meet Ryan…" He frowned. "He's away at the moment."

We all traipsed through the house, past the stairs. My shoulder brushed past the walls and I halted to stop and stare at my surroundings. It was decorated with ruby paint and cherry wood, which was not only beautiful, but had a slightly eerie feel to it. A painting hung on the wall, just before the lounge, of a few trees with the moonlight shimmering through. Again, it was perfection, but sent a shiver crackle through me.

I felt a tug on my arm. I looked away from the furniture and at Fitz, who smiled gently at me. "Come on; we'd better hurry and see who our new step brother is going to be."

I nodded before following him into the sitting room. The burgundy carpet flattened beneath my shoes as I trod over to the black leather sofas. Lizzie had already sat on one, while Eddie sat on the cushioned arms, knitting his eyebrows at the person leaning against the fireplace. The orange flames hissed every so often, but he didn't flinch once; he was tall, like my brother and sister had both said, and had bright cerulean eyes that contrasted with his dark, curly, hazel hair that hung down to his ears. His face seemed to be set in a permanent scowl; eyes narrowed, teeth ground together and gaze concentrated on the carpet.

Our stepfather straightened his arm out to pat the teenager on the shoulder, only causing his glare to become even more irritated. I was sure one of his eyes was twitching. "This is my son, Jake. He's a bit irritable at the moment, so sorry about that."

"Hi Jake!" Lizzie announced. Jake glanced up, not looking that impressed. "My name's Lizzie."

"I'm Fitz."

Eddie stepped closer to him new stepbrother. "I can't wait til we play on your Xbox-you do have one, don't you? I mean, you're so rich and everything! I'll show you some wicked moves on this new fighting game I got for Christmas-it's way good!" Jake seemed as though he was almost foaming at the mouth by this point. "Seeing as we're gonna be step bros and all, can I call you Jakey?"

"No."

Eddie froze, but got over it soon enough by mock crying in the corner after everyone had left the room.

"Jacob…" His father warned. "What have I told you about…"

"I'm going to my room." And with that, he practically shoved past me to stomp up the stairs to his room and slammed the door closed. His father sighed and put a hand to his head and turned to my mother, saying "I'm so sorry, Isabella; he's been like this for a couple of weeks since we got married and Ryan left. I know he's usually moody, but even this is too much for him."

"Is Ryan your other son?" I asked inquisitively, hoping to change the subject (and the aura of the room).

"Well, sort of." He replied thoughtfully. "Not by blood, but legally he is; Jacob's mother and I had adopted him when he was a baby because we thought that we'd be unable to have children; we had been trying for a long time, so we had very little faith in us being able to have a child of our own. However, we found out a few months later that Jessica, Jacob's mother, was pregnant, so we ended up having the two of them!" Laughing, he wrapped an arm around my mother and gave her a small kiss on the cheek before saying "Bella, could you help me with preparing the dinner; you know how useless I am at cooking."

My mother shook her head, beaming. "Don't be silly; you are very good in the kitchen. Your Pot Noodle stew is exquisite."

He chuckled at that and slid an arm around her waist, leading her to the kitchen. He was talking to her, but I couldn't hear over Lizzie's angry, hushed, voice. "What a rude pig! Just because he's rich and good looking doesn't mean he can act like that!" Her fists were curled up by her sides as she ranted. "Actually, let me rephrase that: he's not even that good looking. He certainly doesn't deserve to act like some spoilt brat."

"Lizzie…" Fitz called calmly. "Something may have happened before we got here to upset him." He adjusted the glasses on the end of his nose. "Or it could be that he's just trying to adjust to his father being married and that he now has two stepbrothers (three if you include Arthur), two step sisters and an adopted brother now."

"But we've had no problems adapting to the situation." Lizzie retorted, pushing the small strands of blonde hair away from her eyes. "So why should he?"

I raised my eyebrow at this, but refrained from making a comment. Our family is always awful at adapting to mum's new boyfriends/husbands, especially when changing schools. We're all in different years, so we'll never be in the same classes as each other: Eddie is fourteen; Lizzie is fifteen, and is in the year above Eddie, so will be sixteen in August; I'm seventeen (turned seventeen a few months ago); and Fitz is eighteen (it was his birthday yesterday). Before I say anymore, it's the fourth of January, so we are starting school rather late in the year.

Eddie and Lizzie are the best at making friends when going to new places; Eddie is pretty popular wherever he goes and makes almost anyone laugh, which is a good ice breaker. Lizzie is one of the most confident people I've ever met, so will go up to any old person and start talking to them. It also helps that she's incredibly beautiful too. Fitz is able to make friends after they realise how much of a nice guy he is, because he's pretty calm, and isn't as loud as my other brother and sister.

I am definitely the worst at becoming friends with people. I think that's because I gave up on trying at the age of thirteen and eight schools. To be honest, I'm happy enough with my own company, so I don't feel awkward or anything; I'm just a natural loner, I guess. I've never really had a proper friend, nor have I strived to get one. I have had a boyfriend, but that didn't exactly go very well…

"I'm going to check out my room." I said amidst Lizzie, Eddie and Fitz's conversation. I don't even think they heard me, so I slipped away. I made my way up the carved staircase, taking in the intricacies of the woodwork as I went on. As soon as I arrived upstairs, I stared around at the masses of doors that were surrounding me. I picked the nearest to me, opening it to find purely hundreds of coats. I guessed that this was their massive closet. The next revealed a large room with a cream, ceramic toilet and sink to the side. The one after included an old-fashioned tub-like bath and Jacuzzi built into the ground, which I nearly slipped into because I didn't know was there.

Many doors later, I reached a particular door that opened up to a large bedroom; the bed was drenched in black and crimson, while the walls were covered in hand-drawn pictures of trees and the sea, mainly, but some of crowds of people too. All in pencil or charcoal.

"What are you doing in here?" His voice startled me. I whirled around to see him again, animosity written across his face.

"Uh…" I started, not quite sure what to say. "I got lost… I don't exactly know where everything is, since I only just got here… ha ha ha…" My forced laughter trailed off as I realised that he was just getting more and more irritated by my presence.

"This is Ryan's room, not yours, so stay out of here." He stated, eyes narrowed. "Don't try stiffing around my room either. I don't even want you people here anyway; it's obvious you're all just after my dad's money, though he's too blinded by your blonde bimbo mum to see otherwise." Jacob sneered, raising an eyebrow as if to challenge me.

I guess I could understand why he may think we were trying to pinch his money, since we're pretty poor. At times, I guess, we've been well off, but my mum isn't the best person with money. She's earned a lot from those guys' magazines that she's modelled for, but has either lost it in betting, or spent it on stupid things like a diamond-encrusted hat and gloves.

I laughed, which I could see startled him. "You're pretty pathetic, you know." I swiftly turned away and walked in the opposite direction. While I can understand about the money thing, I can't stand people talking about my mother in that way.

I was fuming so much, that I found myself walking up and down the same corridor for a whole half an hour. Once I realised that I was doing this, I shook my head and decided to get down to business and look for my bedroom. After a while, I found a decent room- not too extravagant like most, yet not so small that you could barely fit a single bed in it. The curtains were a bit disgusting though: yellow with pink flowers, but I guess that could easily be changed.

I fell onto the bed in exhaustion; this house was like a bloody maze. Soon after, I fell into a deep sleep, not even waking up to the person opening the door creakily, before closing it and striding down the hallway.