For cousins Jenna and Hannah, life is anything but ordinary.
When Jenna loses her parents in a tragic accident, their lives in Washington’s Snoqualmie Valley change in unexpected ways. Despite the changes, Jenna still finds love with a mysterious young man she once believed was Hannah’s imaginary friend.
Tall, dark and hairy, Adam brings to light rumors of Bigfoot. Can science explain his appearance? Is he really a supernatural creature, like some people propose? Or, is he just as human as anyone else?
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From J.M. Northup
I wanted this tale to be more than the myth. Iwanted to address kindness, compassion, and community. You can replace Bigfoot with anything and, hopefully, see the story stays relevant because it’s about acceptance and inclusion. At least, that is my intent.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
– Dr. Carl Sagan
“Red light. Red light! RED LIGHT!” Jenna Warnke braced herself for possible impact as her ‘twin’ cousin, Hannah Mitchell, maneuvered the speeding car through the intersection, unconcerned. Jenna gave her doppelganger an incredulous look. “Are you serious?”
“What?” Hannah asked, looking perplexed.
“Why do you hate me so much?”
Hannah scoffed, rolling her rich brown eyes. “Stop being stupid. I don’t hate you.”
“I think you do,” the distraught young woman accused. “I mean, whenever I get into a car with you, you try to kill me.”
“I do not!”
“You do,” Jenna insisted. “You’re reckless, and your wild abandonment behind the wheel is dangerous.”
“Again…” Her cousin sighed in exasperation. “You really need to learn to relax. I’m surprised you don’t have an ulcer or something.”
“I’m surprised the State of Washington issued you a fricken driver’s license,” Jenna retorted.
Hannah wore a sour expression. She stuck her tongue out at Jenna before pursing her lips tightly. Despite being obviously irritated, she slowed down and focused on the road more.
Jenna took in a deep, cleansing breath as she raked her fingers through her chestnut-colored hair. Holding the thick, wavy locks away from her face, she tried to slow her heartbeat. This is getting ridiculous, she thought. If I didn’t get so anxious driving, I’d never allow her to.
Thankfully, it never took long to traverse the distance between their family’s one hundred forty-acre estate and the modest home of Jenna’s boyfriend, Adam. Though there were times when she chose to walk or ride her bike from the northwestern side of Snoqualmie, Washington to the dead-end street near the intersection of Interstate 90 and Washington 18, it wasn’t ideal. Particularly, in winter.
The fact that Jenna shared a Volkswagen Golf with her cousin made the equally terrifying and invigorating ride a necessary hazard, as well. It, also, reminded the young woman of another purchase she’d need to make in the near future – a vehicle of her own. I probably should’ve let Aunty Sam and Uncle Jim buy me a car for my sixteenth birthday like they wanted to. She ran a hand over her face with vexation. Now, I’ll have to deal with it myself.
Thinking about the future proved to be a distraction. One that allowed Jenna to regain her composure. Hmm, she thought, there’s only about… She mentally tallied the time. Five more months before I turn eighteen and receive my inheritance.
Jenna gasped softly. She hadn’t realized how fast time had been passing. It’ll be here before I know it, and there’s still so much to do. A new wave of anxiety threatened to rise up in the girl.
Focusing on breathing, again, Jenna organized her thoughts, making a list of her priorities. By the time Hannah stopped, throwing the 4-door hatchback into park in front of the white house where the King family lived, she seemed to have a good handle on herself. Her pulse had finally calmed. At least, it had until her eyes fell upon her boyfriend.
Will I ever get used to the way he makes me feel? she wondered.
Jenna was fully aware that the delighted look on the young man’s face was a mirrored image of her own. His eyes shone with the depth of his emotions and his intoxicating smile pinched their corners, creating small lines that radiated outward.
I love Adam’s eyes. I could look into those dark chocolate pools forever. Jenna cocked her head to the side. Then again, if I’m being completely honest, the golden color they turn when they glow in the dark is my favorite.
Hannah clicked her tongue. “Geez, he’s a beautiful specimen.”
Jenna sniggered, glancing at her cousin with arched brows. “Specimen?”
“Yeah.” Hannah shrugged. “Look at him; he’s not really a guy, you know? He’s… more than that.” She hummed softly as she bit her thumbnail, all the while keeping Adam in her sights.
Jenna regarded her boyfriend, again, trying to see him the way Hannah did. She’s not wrong. He’s incredibly tall. I mean, my five-foot-four makes me seem like a child compared to his impressive height of six feet nine inches. Mixed with his broad stature, that would set him apart by itself, but…
Her eyes roved over the hulk approaching the car, and she imagined the layer of dark auburn hair that coated his entire body. Though most of it had been concealed under clothing deemed appropriate for the arrival of winter in the Cascade Mountains, the evidence remained visible on his face and hands. I’ve seen hairy men in my day, but Adam’s piliferous. That’s what really draws attention to him.
“Of course, he’s hot as hell,” Hannah noted.
When she leaned her head sideways, Jenna knew she was trying to glimpse the young man better. Her view had been partially blocked by the car’s frame. Is she really shamelessly ogling him? And, in front of me, no less?
As Adam reached for the door handle, Hannah said in a breathy voice, “He’s solid muscle.”
“Hannah!” Jenna scolded with mock indignation.
“What?” Hannah asked, unconcerned. “He’s gorgeous – hair and all. You know it’s true. Every girl at Mount Si would love to be his girlfriend.”
Perhaps I ought to be jealous or angry, but I’m just really humbled that he chose to love me. Jenna chuckled and shook her head good-naturedly as Adam slipped into the back seat. “I guess I can’t really blame them.”
“Yeah, I didn’t think you would.” Hannah smiled, and then, turning her attention back toward the beastly young man, she greeted him brightly. “Good morning. How are you, today?”
“I’m good, Hannah. How are you?” Adam replied cheerfully, leaning forward to kiss Jenna briefly. “Hey, Babe. Thanks for coming to get me.”
Hannah responded before Jenna could.
“My pleasure. I don’t see how I could ever refuse you a ride, honey. I mean, it’s hysterical to watch you get in and out of this tiny car with your huge physique.” She giggled loudly. “You make it seem like a clown car. It’s pretty great to watch.”
Jenna rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help smiling. He does fill the space to capacity, she thought with a quiet chuckle. I’ll have to take that into consideration when I buy my own set of wheels.
“Yeah, yeah,” Adam responded. “Maybe that’s true, but you two are so petite that I couldn’t imagine you being able to see over the dash of anything bigger.”
“Touché,” Hannah submitted to the joke easily as she shifted in her seat to resume driving. “But, let’s not forget, I’m taller than Jenna.”
“Hey,” Jenna interjected. “Only by two inches.”
“Yeah, and that still makes me taller,” Hannah pointed out in an almost pragmatic tone. Throwing the car into drive, she added, “Okay then, we’re off.”
“Wait! I still need to get my seatbelt on,” Adam sounded alarmed as he tugged the woven strap over his thick body. “I may not want to go to school, today, but it’s better than being dead.”
He’s got that right, Jenna thought with a snicker.
“Oh, stop! You’re almost as dramatic as her,” Hannah countered, chucking a thumb toward her cousin.
“See, it isn’t just me,” Jenna said. “No one likes the way you drive.”
Despite her look of annoyance, Hannah laughed as she pulled away from the curb. “Just for that, I’m taking the long way around, so you two can buy me a breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s.”
Adam and Jenna smiled at one another as the trio continued on their way.
When they walked through the doorway of Mount Si High School, few students paid attention to their arrival. Despite Adam’s unusual appearance and towering presence, the students had long since gotten over their initial shock. The explanation given on his first day, citing Adam as having a congenital affliction, called Hypertrichosis Terminalis, had placated their curiosity. After all, they had grown up in the same town as his uncle, Logan.
Logan King suffered from Hypertrichosis Terminalis, as well; a condition causing excessive hair growth over his entire body. However, unlike Adam, Logan had been diagnosed with mild Gingival Hyperplasia, which affected his speech. He was, also, inflicted with a form of Osteochondrodysplasia, known as Distal Phalanx. By comparison, Adam’s appearance caused fewer concerns than his uncle’s abnormalities, which made the older man look more like a Neanderthal than a modern human.
At least, this held true for most people…
“Argh!” Hannah grumbled with irritation when her eyes fell upon the four boys crowding around the locker Jenna shared with Adam. “I think I’ll make my great escape, now. I see you have company waiting for you, and I don’t think I can deal with those assholes just yet.”
Adam couldn’t seem to stop the grin that spread across his handsome face. “Too early in the day?”
Hannah scoffed. “Yeah. I need a lot more caffeine in me than I have at the moment.”
Though her cousin’s suddenly cantankerous mood caused Adam to chuckle softly, Jenna didn’t share in his amusement. I don’t know what’s worse; her urge to fight or his nonchalance? Looking at the group ahead of them jump to life as they noticed their approach, she knew her answer. Their ignorance and prejudice.
“We get it,” Jenna responded tensely. “We’ll catch you later.”
“Yep.” Hannah didn’t even bother glancing back as she diverted toward the hallway on their left and waved over her shoulder.
Jenna sighed. I wish I could go with her.
“Good morning, Animal Lover,” the leader of the bullies, named Tate Williams, greeted Jenna in a snide voice. “Shouldn’t your dog be on a leash or something?”
The young men all chortled merrily, which only incited Jenna’s anger more. “Bite me!”
Feeling Adam’s grip tighten on her hand, she peered up into his gentle eyes. Though he whispered, “It’s okay,” his body language told her it wasn’t. Furthermore, his inconspicuous move to position himself between them wasn’t lost on her.
He’s always trying to protect me, Jenna realized. He has such a good heart. Something these yahoos know nothing about.
“Wow,” the boy standing to the leader’s right said. This was Tate’s best friend, Aaron. “You sure have an ugly mouth for such a pretty girl.”
“She has an even uglier boyfriend,” Tate quipped.
Look at him, acting all big and macho. He’s peacocking for his friends. Jenna unconsciously scoffed. Disgusting.
“What do you want, Tate?” Adam asked calmly.
“What do you care?” One of Tate’s entourage snapped as he attempted to gain favor with their leader.
“Yeah,” a fourth boy chimed in. “This doesn’t involve you, Bigfoot.”
The retort caused the hooligans to hoot and holler. They high-fived, egging each other on in their rambunctious show of immaturity.
Their stupidity is astounding, Jenna thought in revulsion.
“Good one, man,” Tate complimented his follower.
Aaron patted the flunky on the back, praising him. “Right on.”
Though his demeanor appeared casual, Jenna knew Adam was anything but. He leaned against the metal locker, next to the one she popped open, nonchalantly. “How original,” he said.
Acutely aware of her boyfriend, Jenna had caught his subtle nod toward her book bag. Without words, she understood his indication to mean she ought to hurry, so they could move on. The almost imperceptible gesture belied his true feelings. Adam dislikes them as much as Hannah and I do. More so, he doesn’t trust them.
Adam yawned as though he was bored. “You guys need to come up with some new material.”
“And, you need to come up with a – ah, a new, um… face,” Tate’s mindless lackey responded lamely.
The other hoodlums tried to be encouraging, but their laughter fell flat, and they eyed each other with uncertainty.
Huh, that’s interesting, Jenna noted. They recognized his statement for the poor riposte it is.
The boy who had made the weak comeback looked uncomfortable.
Of course, he’s too dim-witted to understand why his friends didn’t appreciate his response. She shook her head slightly. Dumbass.
Jenna moved quickly as she watched the bullies inconspicuously. Her heartbeat quickened with her increased anxiety. I just want to get out of here. These assholes aren’t worth getting expelled over – or worse. She was relieved to slam her locker door shut. The sound alerted Adam that she was ready to go.
“Tate, why don’t you go play somewhere else, huh?” Adam asked in annoyance as he pulled himself upward into a standing position. “You know there isn’t anyone here that wants you.”
Jenna’s attention flashed to Adam’s face. Is he crazy? Why is he trying to start something? Reaching toward him, she tugged on his hand in distress, and demanded, “Let’s go.”
“What did you say to me?” Tate growled, squaring off in front of Adam.
The hulk shifted, easily meeting Tate’s threat, toe-to-toe. The way his body towered over the roguish boy would have been comical had Jenna not been so stressed. Why is he antagonizing him?
It was no secret that Tate desired Jenna. He made regular advances on the beauty, which she constantly thwarted and openly rejected. Despite her choosing Adam, the boy continued his pursuit.
Adam repeated his insulting remark, accentuating the knowledge of Tate’s unwarranted lust for Jenna. “I said, nobody wants you.”
Leaning forward slightly, Adam seemed to overwhelm the thug. Clearly intimidated, his posse began to backstep, urgently seeking an escape from the confrontation. Tate himself appeared to shrink beneath Adam’s bulk, visibly deflating. As his arrogance turned to panic, his friends readily abandoned him.
“Ah, ah,” he sputtered, looking around in agitation. “Guys? Where are you going? Aaron…?”
Just then, Principal Smith came around the corner. His expression clearly indicated he’d easily assessed the situation. As he promptly made his way toward the trio, other students in the hallway scattered and fled. “Everything okay here, fellas?”
Jenna’s eyes widened in fear, and she unconsciously took a step backward, making room for the principal. Oh, no. Please, God, don’t let this escalate. It’s bad enough Hannah got into a fight with Tate. I don’t need trouble for Adam, too.
“Good morning, Principal Smith,” Adam said congenially, though he never averted his attention from the bully.
Tate flinched, scrunching his face in discomfort as he cowered below him.
I’d almost enjoy seeing that jerk squirm if I weren’t so worried for Adam. Jenna’s agitation increased. Why did he have to say anything? We could’ve been to class already.
“H-hi… hi,” Tate returned as he slunk out from beneath his opponent’s mass. Looking cowardly, he addressed the school principal nervously, tripping slightly over his own feet in his attempt to put distance between him and his adversary. “H-how are you?”
“Well, that depends,” the older man replied matter-of-factly. He stopped beside Adam, standing, shoulder-to-shoulder, with him. He crossed his arms over his chest as he regarded Tate.
Though he’s slimmer and leaner, Principal Smith isn’t much shorter than Adam – maybe half a foot – so the two of them, together, look imposing. I’m glad I’m not Tate, right now.
“Depends on what?” Tate inquired, blinking his eyes in rapid succession.
Tate glanced from Principal Smith to Adam and back, but neither of them seemed affected. They continued to regard him intensely, disappointment etched into both of their faces.
“On your answer to my question,” the authoritative man answered.
“What question?” Tate asked, confused.
For the first time, Adam diverted his eyes, meeting those of the principal. The two men shook their heads in mutual frustration.
Just when I think Tate can’t be any dumber, he proves me wrong. Jenna fought the urge to palm her face. Thankfully, Principal Smith seems aware of who the real problem is.
“I asked if everything was okay here. Remember?” The principal cocked his head to the side as he scrutinized the subdued bully.
“Oh, yeah, right. Everything’s fine,” Tate sputtered, perspiration beading on his forehead.
“Is that so?” the principal asked without looking away. “Is that true, Adam?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine,” Adam answered after a moment of consideration.
Oh, good. He’s finally relaxing. Perhaps we can get on with our day, now, Jenna hoped.
“Hmmm,” Principal Smith acknowledged as he turned toward Jenna. “Good morning, Miss Warnke.”
“Good morning,” she quietly responded.
“Why don’t you and Mr. King head to class while I have a little chat with Mr. Williams here.”
If he thinks I’m going to object, he’s daft, Jenna thought as she nodded in response. I’d be more than happy to get out of here.
“Chat?” Tate asked, perking up. “No, no. We don’t need to chat.”
“Oh, I think we do. It seems you need to be reminded of our agreement.” The principal shepherded the unhappy youth toward the office, leaving Jenna and Adam standing in the hallway.
“The organization and writing of this novella intrigued me a great deal. The author used italics to change and register points of view of each of the characters involved from time to time, clarifying and making the story more whole. I really liked that technique. I also loved the story, a tale of four teenagers, two “human” and two “Sasquatch” and each of the two human girls in love with a Sasquatch man. I think of this story as creating a look at diversity and how successful two widely divergent kinds of people can be if they are receptive and loving individuals. The author has done a wonderful job creating a love story, without any raw sex necessary, that will carry over into yet another tale of love and conquest of disrespect unless I miss my guess.
I will not go into the details of the story further. That would spoil the read for you. Suffice it to say for me that this is an extremely well written story with very well drawn characters who are likeable, loveable, and have reality within the confines of the story for the reader. I enjoyed the book immensely. I would recommend it to any age above young teens. Well done Julie. I look forward to the next chapter in the tale of these great couples.“