Brandon Taylor was a young playboy (though quite poor) who had worked his way up through the corporate ladder to the point where he was being sent on some very important business trips. On one such business trip, he met a Mexican woman named Selena. The two flirted back and forth while he was there, and Brandon fell HARD. Selena returned home with Brandon and the two were quite happy for a time, even having a child together (Kelsey). However, Selena’s citizenship came into question (mostly because of some coworkers who were trying to sabotage Brandon’s career) and she became desperately unhappy after childbirth (postpartum). The two tried to make things work, pushed for citizenship, and even entertained the idea of marriage, but in the end they agreed that their relationship had run its course and Selena returned home.
When Selena returned home with her son, she found herself pregnant again. She believed it to be Brandon’s child, but opted not to tell him (even though they remained in touch for a while) for fear that she would end up returning to that relationship for the sake of their new child. However, her family was NOT alright with Selena being a single mother and keeping not one but TWO children with a man she had no intention of marrying, so she moved in with friends to avoid that tension.
Life with the Ortegas Edit
The Ortegas (the family Selena moved in with, and unofficially took the name of) were a HUGE help in raising Kelsey and eventually Jules. Janae and Luis Ortega had been trying and failing to have their own children, and they really rose to the occasion as caregivers. This gave Selena a lot more time to have fun and work and meet new people… which she did. Specifically, she met a man who was interested in her. She ‘conveniently’ forgot to tell him that she had children, and eventually the two eloped. Kelsey was devastated, as he was old enough to recognize and miss his mother by the time she left, but Jules never missed her.
The Ortegas formally adopted Kelsey and Jules, and moved to New Mexico. The boys had happy childhoods there, though Kelsey never got over the disappearance of his mother, and they did reasonably well in school. Jules discovered he had dyslexia and the Ortegas made sure he got all the extra attention, time, etc. he needed in school. They HEAVILY pushed the two to do well in school.
And then they had their own child.
Janae had previously lost every child they’d tried to have, and was shocked to find that fertility treatments worked for her. She and Luis threw themselves into preparing for the new baby, trusting that Jules and Kelsey had been raised well enough to where they’d take care of themselves. Jules ended up slacking off because he had to do so much MORE work just to get by. Kelsey started to feel abandoned by his beloved parents and projected his feelings about his absentee mother onto them, growing more and more bitter as time went on. The baby was born, Kelsey graduated high school a year early with honors, and the older boy moved out almost immediately to attend school on a full scholarship.
Jules missed his brother and kept in touch as much as possible (in Kelsey’s mind, Jules was the only one who hadn’t ‘abandoned’ him), but never really understood why he left. Kelsey tried to explain—even trying to get Jules to feel the same way—but without those sad early memories of their mother, it was all a wash. All Jules really gathered was that Kelsey wanted closure and that meeting their parents might be an effective way to do it. Without ever consulting his brother, Jules started seeking out any-and-all information about their mother and he started reconnecting on a deeper level with his father.
He was a loving and responsible older brother to his younger sister, Bea, he had his first steady girlfriend, his grades were average, and he was getting along well with Brandon (the entire Taylor clan, aside from his mysterious half-sister who refused to speak with him). Life at 15 was going great for Jules Ortega!
And then his girlfriend got pregnant.
First Love Edit
Jules was so determined to do better than his father had done before him. Brandon often waxed lyrical about love, devotion, and ‘courtly affection’, so his son had some very strong feelings about family and relationships. When he found that his girlfriend (Rosalin Bukowski) was with child, he immediately did the ‘right thing’ and proposed. They were young and stupid and scared, so things moved too fast. Her family rejected Jules and the Rosalin was kicked out (admittedly both sides regretted this argument gone too far). The Ortegas didn’t really like the idea of Jules marrying a Rosalin (or even avoiding the topic of an abortion), but they took the girl in anyway. Rose lived in the basement, Jules slept in his room, and they insisted that both kids get a job.
Juggling school, a relationship, AND a job on top of all the added tension/stress in the house was just too much for Jules. He started skipping classes to catch up on sleep, not coming home until the early morning hours, and even mouthing off to his family. This came to a head when he fell asleep babysitting and Bea ended up hurting herself badly (most likely from a fall). He got her to the emergency room, called Janae, and the two had a very long argument in the hospital that ended with Jules dropping out of school. Rosalin broke up with Jules soon after. The combined stress of their shared family drama, the pregnancy, and Jules ‘throwing his life away’ was too much. With Jules out of the picture and both parties having cooled off, Rosalin moved back in with her parents to raise her child.
Jules and Janae (who he related to more than Luis) had a long, frank discussion after Rosalin left. Bea was alright, of course, but Jules hated being around his family now. He felt as if he’d failed them. Janae listened, held him, let him cry, and the two worked out a few options. With Luis and Kelsey’s input the family agreed to let Jules move in with his older brother (who was starting out a local university and had a small apartment the Ortegas paid for) if he agreed to continue his schooling online.
It was hard to keep up online, but with Kelsey’s help Jules managed to make it work. He found himself EXTREMELY distracted by the wild college life that his brother was avoiding at all costs, but nobody really wanted to party with a kid so Jules didn’t get into partying until he was out of high school.
Those next few years were mostly uneventful. Jules kept in touch with all three parents, continued searching around online for his mother, and continued keeping ALL of this from Kelsey.
Traveling America Edit
When he finally graduated (just barely), Jules immediately started traveling. He bought a crappy van and went all around the USA, following up on the smallest leads about his mother’s whereabouts. He even visited with Brandon for a while (and finally meeting his half-sister… who he almost slept with by accident)! Jules’ relationship with Brandon had always been very strong, but putting the two together… God. They were so alike it was scary!
In his travels, Jules found another steady girlfriend in Louisa. She was a starry-eyed romantic, much like him, and they were too alike to last. They traveled together in his van and had FUN everywhere they went, but when it came time to settle down they didn’t quite know how to make it work. They wanted to commit and have a family, but they couldn’t cook or clean or even hold down jobs. When Louisa eventually DID find herself pregnant, she ended up losing the child late in the pregnancy… The two drifted apart, the fun was over, and all their problems seemed much more important than before. Everything got too serious. They split after struggling through another five months of travel, both extremely depressed by the end of it.
The wannabe hippy found himself in New York for a while after that. It was a lot of drugs and partying and drinking, and he’d go for days without eating (which was where his disordered eating stems from) and his contact with his family dwindled. They worried about him, but finding Jules was a real struggle and Kelsey could only track down Jules so many times before they realized it wasn’t helping. The younger Ortega got heavily addicted to various drugs that he believed improved his musical abilities (which were important to him, since he’d never been very good at ANYTHING), and the older one tried unsuccessfully to get him into rehab. He was in a string of relationships during this time, had a few STDs (thankfully curably/treatable), and may have fathered a few children. The only one he was sure of was a girl he’d been in an orgy with and ended up dating. They essentially just did drugs and partied together, but they had a reasonably strong open relationship and Kelsey had a special hatred for her, so she was not easily forgotten. Her name was Marnie, and she and Jules had an EXTREMELY unhealthy baby that was eventually given up for adoption. Jules never followed up on her adoption, though he later wished he had.
Rehab and New Love Edit
Eventually the Ortega and Taylor clans combined to get Jules some help. The four of them (Brandon, Janae, Luis and Brandon’s wife, Sathi) took turns staying with Jules and keeping him in rehab. They took a lot of time and effort and spoke closely with a few friends in the medical field on how to safely wean Jules off his drugs, and after a year they deemed him ‘recovered’ enough to where he could stay with Kelsey again. Within another year he was traveling and had returned to hunting down his mother, this time with a marketable skill (music).
Jules eventually found himself in Boston. He found a college that was a BLAST to party at (he only really smoked weed and drank at parties, to avoid a relapse), dated around, and even found some lucrative work playing music at a local bar. Life was looking up again for Jules Ortega after 8 years of trying to ‘find himself’.
While on a date with one drunk frat boy questioning his sexuality, Jules met the love of his life: Natasha. They’d gone to a coffee shop because his date didn’t think any of his peers would see him there, and Natasha was performing there. She was… not great. Her words were incredible, but she ended up getting very sick and puking directly on Jules’ frat boy. While his date when to get cleaned up, Jules took an opportunity to compliment and check on/cheer up the beautiful poet and the two ended up leaving together. Jules hadn’t been invested in that frat dude anyway.
Things built very slowly between the two, which was WAY out of the norm for Jules. She was responsible and studious, romantic, shy, thoughtful… Completely captivating in every way. He fell harder and faster than he ever had and even went so far as to get an apartment (a crappy one, but Natasha got a key the same day he did, so it was still a romantic gesture). Jules gushed and showed off Natasha to anyone who would listen (and many who tried not to), showered her with affection, and was by her side as much as possible. His drug use and partying slowed down, though he would still go out and stumble home shitfaced a few times a month.
The Mad HouseEdit
Jules appeared in season 3 of The Mad House, where he was described as follows: