JJ strode out the exit, a wicked grin on his face. He used his 6'4, 312 pound body to do a little turn in the dirt as he strutted to Farmer Carsten, who was resplendent in his denim overalls and straw hat while having a look of shock.
"Time?", said JJ, looking at Mr. Carsten.
"One... one minute and thirty-two seconds."
"Yes!" JJ shouted, pumping his fist as he leapt in the air. The rush of wind swept through his short black hair. Realizing his proud actions, JJ looked sheepishly at Mr. Carsten.
"How do you kids keep beating these times?!? Every damn year..."
"I don't know, Mr. Carsten. I guess we're just... lucky."
Mr. Carsten shook his head, and shoved a finger towards the prize display. Nothing but extra large stuffed animals and sports balls, nothing that caught JJ's eye... until he saw the bull plushie. Flashing a grin he pointed at it. Carsten threw him the toy.
"If I didn't know you were moving away for college I'd reckon I'd ban you. Five straight years you've won."
"Well, we'll see. Take care, Mr. Carsten."
"Take care, JJ."
JJ strode back to his family; his mom, dad, and four siblings, Kendra (14), Lucas (10), Marie(6), and baby Nicholas. JJ started to put the doll close to Nicholas even though he was too small to hold it. "Got this for you, little guy!"
"I'm sure he appreciates it, JJ.", said his mother.
"You coulda gotten more stuff out of Mr. Carsten, JJ! I wanted the football!", said Lucas.
"And I wanted the teddy bear! I don't want to be a dumb bull when I transform, I wanna-"
The three older siblings and both parents shushed Marie before she finished her sentence. Mrs. Areleous, sighed and Cole, the patriarch, knelt down. He dipped his wiry frame low enough to get to eye level with Marie but not so he got dirt all over his crisp khakis or his clean polo.
"Why don't we get some ice cream before we go? We need to say good bye to JJ, right?"
The two younger kids shouted in delight and ran ahead. Cole and Kendra ran off to catch them, leaving JJ, Nicholas, and Hattie. Hattie gave a chuckle, readjusting her grip on Nicholas with a mechanical precision as Nicholas squirmed in his blanket. Hattie's free arm pulled down her long, flowing dress, dotted with a daisy pattern. She smiled at JJ, her dark brown skin glistening in the sun as it sank in the sky. She ran her hand through her curly hair and looked ahead at the other Areleouses.
"Ah, to be young again. Lucas and Marie are such a handful. But so precious. All of my children are." she said as she ran her free hand through JJ's hair.
JJ blushed as he responded. "Yeah, yeah..."
"Have you thought about what you want to do? What your major will be?"
"Yeah. I think I'm gonna go into art. There's also so much art around us, so much you've shown me from your home, it just inspires me, and... and..."
"It keeps me calm. I still can't maintain control when I... you know..."
Hattie smiled and pulled her eldest son (of this brood) close with her free arm. In spite of JJ's size and weight he could feel the gentle power as she embraced him.
"It comes with time, JJ. Rest with comfort; all of your siblings had to learn. Your younger siblings will learn as well. In their time."
"Yeah... Isn't that right, Nicholas? Some day you'll grow up big and strong and when you go minotaur-"
Hattie lightly tugged on JJ's nostril piercing, just enough to playfully tug his face up.
"Not in public, dear. What did we just do with your sister?"
"Sorry, sorry. Mom?"
"Am I... am I ever going to have control? When I'm... different?"
"Of course, Jason, of course. It's know it's scary. I've seen your stepbrothers and stepsisters go through the same thing when they come of age. Because of your humanity it... conflicts with the other side. It just takes time. Be patient. Besides," Hattie readjusted her grip on Nicholas as she walked ahead, leaving JJ behind.
"You need to get laid more anyway. That might help. Find a nice girl in New York. Or two. Or six. Or a boy, whatever, you just need to lose your inhibitions already. Ra, some days I wonder if you are my child. You should've had a kid or three by now."
JJ's face instantly turned red; his mother tilted her head back and laughed as she walked. He darted his eyes to see if anyone heard; realizing he shouldn't care, JJ ran to catch up with his family. If living with a fertility goddess, her human consort/his dad, and four demigod siblings was this ridiculous, how hard was college going to be?