“Jamison, what did we tell you about opening your presents early?” #12 chimes in, her voice forcefully sweet as she tries, god bless her soul, to appear anything but tired. Jamison is thirteen and only two years younger than his adoptive brother, who flashes him a toothy grin from across the kitchen table; a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “I didn’t do it,” he protests. #11 holds his gaze, #12 shifts hers. They both inhale sharply, and the sudden silence makes Jamison shift uncomfortably in his seat. There is a lot to think about when he thinks about his life here. After all, this is the sixth "foster family" that he's been sent to. #11 and #12, or Elias and Selene as they are called rebelliously in place of 'mom' and 'dad,' are older and appear exhausted in all that they do – like ghosts floating from one thing to another. Staying with the two has been an excruciatingly boring experience, but has allowed Jamison to stay out of trouble for the most part (which is an improvement, really). Ray, Elias and Selene’s biological son, however, has had every intention of ruining that for the boy.
Jamison turns his head to his foster “brother” and allows the hazel, emerald-brown wells of his eyes to spill out hot tears that skirt over his cheeks and trail down to his chin. It’s the second time the feeling of betrayal seizes control of him… He’s put his trust, his hard earned trust in Ray after some major convincing and this is how the fifteen-year-old treats him in exchange – taunting him with his gap-toothed grin that Jamison has learned to come to hate. “You should just take him back where you got him,” Ray splutters with arrogance, shoving a spoonful of corn into the confines of his mouth as he looks on at the guilt-stricken thirteen year old. “He doesn’t belong here and we all know it.”
"What the fuck?" Jamison finally rages, completely shocking Elias and Selene, along with the snot-nosed, gap-toothed shithead that's busy getting his kicks from the entire ordeal. One of them shifts, making a noise that sounds like irritated amusement over Jamison's poor vocabulary but it isn't until Elias takes a step forward that Jamison lunges at Ray. There is ragged breathing between the two as Jamison tackles the other to the ground – limbs flying about every which way while they shuffle together on the floor.
“We didn’t want to do this,” Selene mutters sluggishly to the social worker a few days later, her gaze shifted downwards as the woman seated across from her leans back and turns her head over a shoulder to glance back at Jamison. “But he just doesn’t belong.”