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Life, part 2: Torn Family

By Ale Ro Ni

Adventure / Fantasy

TJ

My name is Theodore James Underwood. I'm just 15 years old and my life is simple and complicated as any of us. I was 5 when my life changed drastically. My family was torn apart. My godfather raised me ever since. I love my brothers and sisters, hairy legs and all that. I have 3 annoying little siblings: Fanny of 10 years old, Juniper of 7 years old and little Lily of 4 years old. Since they are satyrs, they age half slow as me. So they are really half their age. So, I basically live with preschoolers and toddlers. The Underwoods live in a cabin close to camp next to Juniper's favorite tree, since she is a tree spirit.

For the last 10 years, I have been living at Camp Half-Blood just like my mom did when she was younger. I don't complain. I like Camp. It's fun to play Capture the Flag and training is amazing. My team wins most of the times.

As for my real family, my older sister Aida is in New York living with her mortal grandparents. She is my half-sister. I never see her anymore. She came to Camp once when she was 9 and I was 8 and only stayed for a couple of hours. I tried to talk to her but she kept running away from me until she left. I wrote her letters and sent her IM apologizing and asking what I did wrong to her but I never got a reply, so eventually I gave up.

My twin sister Mer used to be in Camp Jupiter living with my uncle Frank and his family since I moved here. I never understood why we had to be separated. We are twins for Gods' sake! Anyway, Mer went on a quest last year and never returned. I still hope she is alive. I have spent a fortune on IMs without any reply.

My youngest sister disappeared along with our mom before she was even born. Dad never stopped looking and I hope he is still looking. The last time we heard of him, I was 6. He came to Camp for Rachel Elizabeth Dare the former Oracle of Delphi. He needed her help but something happened and Rachel was never the same anymore. She lost her powers and her place in Camp. She quietly stepped down for the new oracle Marlene Scott. She lives somewhere in New York.

I barely remember my family now. I see the pictures and everything seems like watching someone else life. I used to be in a completely different family, a mom, two sisters and another on the way. Somehow there are no pictures of my dad. I don't know why. I have asked to Grover, Calypso, Chiron and Aunt Piper and nobody gives a straight answer. I don't remember him anymore. Sometimes, I dream of his laughter or I think it's his laughter.

My godly relative is Athena, my grandmother. I have never met her just like a lot of my aunts and uncles, her kids. I lived in her cabin during the Summer but most of the year I am with Grover, Juniper and their kids. I look to my cabin family and I wondered how come I don't have the same blond hair as they do. I know I must be my dad's kid due to the dark hair and green eyes. I wonder if he was mortal or a demigod. Maybe he was a mortal just like Aida's dad who died in a shooting at his workplace.

It's summer again and most of my friends are coming today or tomorrow, demigods like my mom. I used to be teased a lot because I was a legacy, so I had to work harder to stand out and make my godparents proud. I might not be as skillful with the sword as the legendary Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon. I wish I could meet him someday. He just sounds awesome. So far, Poseidon's cabin is empty, tattered and dusty.

The first day of Summer camp started (almost two weeks before from the Summer solstice) with my sister Fanny kicking me out with her strong goat legs. She slept with me last night, a bad dream. I rubbed my side when I stood up. I walked quietly to the kitchen. It was still early and my family was still sleeping. Then the door opened and I saw my godfather.

"Hi, TJ" he said.

"Grover, good morning" I said.

"Did Fanny sleep with you? I can't find her" said Grover looking a little worried.

"Yes, she had a bad dream. She is still in my bed" I said and Grover sighed relieved.

"Ready to move to Cabin 6?" said Grover.

I looked to him and sighed sadly. "Do I have to?" I asked weakly.

"You know the rules. During the summer, you are just a camper, nothing more or less" said Grover and put his hand on my shoulder.

"Do you think I will get a quest soon?" I asked.

"I hope not" said Grover not taking his eyes on me.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because I want you safe. Quests can be dangerous. We already lost your sister last year" said Grover. I knew he was right.

"Maybe if I go, I will find her. I don't think she is dead. I would know. She is my sister, my twin. We used to feel each other's wounds when we were little" I said hoping.

"Aida might come this year" said Grover changing the topic and hoping to end the conversation. We have discussed this for a whole year. Grover is normally really easy-going and I was definitely shocked when he tied me up. He was stopping me of going to New Rome to look for Mer.

"Don't lie to me. She forgot about us and it's better. She is safer" I said looking away.

"I talked to her grandmother. I convinced her that she could take defense classes here" said Grover trying to cheer me up.

"She won't come and you know. Stop trying to give me false hopes" I said angrily and left the kitchen.

I walked without a real direction around Camp. I was angry. I didn't have an older sister anymore, just a stranger who I share my mom's blood. Somehow, I ended in the strawberry fields under a bush.

"Hi, TJ. What's wrong?" said Calypso as she saw me.

"Nothing, Auntie Calypso… and Kate?" I asked. I could see her house over the strawberry field hill.

"Still sleeping. What is troubling you? You can't fool me. I know you since you were born" said Calypso and sit next to me.

"Grover says Aida is coming for the summer and I told him to stop saying lies. She is not coming. I have spent 3 summers on the row hoping to see her and she never comes" I said exasperated.

"Oh, I see. I understand" said Calypso nodding. She kissed my forehead.

"How?" I said confused.

"Do you forget who I am? Heroes made promises to come back to me and never did, except for one" said Calypso and she sighed.

"Yeah, the ever amazing Percy Jackson. If he is so great, why are no pictures of him in camp?" I said angrily. Sometimes it was so annoying to her everybody talking about him like he was so great.

"He was amazing, just not really photogenic" explained Calyspo.

"Ugly as a monster?" I asked.

"Horrible" said Calypso sticking out her tongue playfully.

"I want to meet him, you know, even if he is horrible. He sound so cool, but at the same time I think he must be so full of himself, so many quests and heroic things. He must be worse than Hercules. Aunt Piper told me he met him and hated him" I said.

"He is… a little full of himself" said Calypso. I just sighed.

"Did you love him when you met him?" I asked. I knew her story. Heroes left when she fell for them.

"Yes, I did, just like the ones previous him and the one after him. Now I realized that I didn't really love them. It was just a crush. There are probably only two great loves in my life" said Calypso

"Odysseus?" I asked.

"Not him. Leo Valdez, son of Hephaestus, and Kate's dad" said Calypso and she looked away. She never has talked about him before. Kate is almost 9 years old and I have never heard anyone mention him.

"What happened to him?" I asked.

Calypso sighed sadly and looked at me saying "We drifted apart. It happens"

"He is a fool for leaving you, you know. If you were my girlfriend, I would never let you go" I said and she smiled sadly. She kissed my cheek. She stood up and ruffled my hair before leaving.

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