My daughter's Best Friend

Alissa Smith dives in the trials and tribulations that seem to engulf her male best friend Payton, . His father a traveling musician and his mother a former gospel singer battling addiction. Its no wonder the Smith home has become somewhat of a safe haven for the Charismatic teen over several years of friendship. its even to the point Alissa's dad sees Payton like a son. But once Payton's living situation abruptly comes to an end, Alissa father has only a few days to make a quick decision of moving him in or letting him go into foster care. A million question begin to swirl in his head. What if they Alissa and Payton start to like each other while living together? What if his family issues bring unwanted harm Alissa? if he said no will both teens world be torn apart without each other? Or If he said yes, Can boy and girl truly be platonic friends while living under the same roof?

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1. The secret life of Payton

 

 

                Summer was coming to an end, and P wanted to get as much outdoor time as he possibly could before school started. So, I wasn’t surprised to hear my land phone ringing 7:30 in the morning. P may have been an early bird from birth; but his bestie was a late bloomer from the start. The sound of my red phone chiming was giving me a headache. Over and over it just kept ringing; I knew it was P. But my pillow was calling my face, and my warm pastel pink covers were adoring my body ever so gently. I couldn’t dare risk my comfort to answer that phone. And I guess Preston got the message cause eventually it stopped ringing.

                “Finally; some peace and quiet” I thought to myself as I let my eyes drift back to sleep. But I should of none better then to think Payton would just give up so easily. Cause no sooner than when I felt that magical snore approaching my lung

                “Clink…. Clink Clink”

“What hell is that?” I asked allowed listening in. Again Clink….Clink…and a low mumble of

  “Alissa…Alissa”

   I pulled my head from under my covers allowing the morning sun to shine in my eyes. Was that Payton I just heard? I looked over to the window and saw what I was hearing. Watching in annoyance, little pebbles from the sand garden hitting gently against the window…Yup; Payton for sure. I grown and kick out of bed and rush over to the window to open it. While doing so Payton playfully threw one more pebble close by me.

   I wave frantically loud whispering

  “Jesus! Payton what, what do you want boy? Didn’t you get a clue when I didn’t answer the phone?”

He rolled his eyes and laughed.

  “Girl stop sleeping your life away and get your bike. I want to take you somewhere real quick”

“Can it wait til noon or something?” I said in a tired whimper.

“No! It cannot wait till its hot as shit. Come on! Put on some sweats I’ll be by the door.”

I had a slight tantrum and slammed the window. I could hear him giggling from outside. He knew I wasn’t a morning bird, and still he loved waking me up early. Knowing I rarely say no and got a kick out of my cranky demeaner.

  I grabbed some grey sweat pants and put them on really quick over my Pink Night T with a playful anime girl winking on it. I took a glance in the mirror and pulled my untamed curls into a hi ponytail. Put on a little deodorant and ran in the bathroom to quick brush my teeth and splash my face. After that I tippy toed down the steps not wanting to wake my dad; who I assumed was in his bed sleep. He didn’t have to work till 3.

    But the second I made it into the kitchen I hear in a booming low voice

“Payton is waiting for you outside.”

“Ooh Daddy! I thought you were sleep.” I replied watching him sip his morning black Coffee while reading the morning paper at the table. One eye looked over at me and I waited for him to say something.

  He just smiled

    “When you two are done riding through Creek Park for the fifth time this week; Tell Payton to come in for breakfast. Should I cook this morning or you?”

  Before I could answer he waved a hand

   “Never mind that I can do. Pancakes good?”

I nodded as I went to the grab my bike that was sitting in the indoor shed.

  “Yeah sounds good daddy. See you in like an hour?”

He lifts his mug to me, took a sip and continued reading his paper. I walked out the door with my green bike and looked my best friend over. He was standing my dad’s car with his yellow mountain. Wearing his Typical assemble of blue jeans black t and white fitted hat; to hide his curly brown hair. I had a handsome friend no doubt, but I never paid much attention to his looks; especially on early morning missions like today.

    I groaned a good morning to him as I hopped on my bike.

He chuckled and said “Well Hi to you to Ali! Hehe come let’s go keep up!”

“Where are, we going?” I said quickly pushing off on my bike trying to keep up with him. He didn’t answer my question, he only glanced back as to say “Keep up and you’ll find out!” We’ve done these early morning bike rides a lot so my dad was probably on the right trail. Creek Park was probably where we were headed. It was his go to spot in the area after all. But when we blew past 12 street and Adams where the trail began, I got a little confused. He wasn’t going as fast so I peddled up beside him.

                “We just blew past Adams way path.” I chimed breathing a little hard from peddling.

“We’re not going down Adams way” He chirped back never looking my way.

“Then where the hell are you taking me?” I replied in a hi pitch squeal.

He chuckled again and peddled faster

“Just keep up slow poke!”

Slow poke! I show him I thought. We raced down a hill and around the bin. We were in Creek park yes, but not the original place we normally ride over to. No, this area was a bit denser and a bit deserted. I was getting a little nervous about this, but I know P would never put me in harm’s way; so, I followed on. After what seemed like a forever we finally reach a dead end, and he hopped off his bike and laid it near a tree. I hopped off my bike and he took it over to the tree as well.

                “Leave them here and follow me this way.” He said pointing to a tiny opening of trail among the bush.

   “What?” I whispered

“What’s back there and what if somebody takes our bikes?”

 He grabbed me by the hand and said

“ Do you see anybody out here? Now come on, stay close I want to show you something I found.”

Alright, alright already. I replied holding tight to his hand as we walked through the thick of the hidden trail. The greenery surrounding us had a thick oaky smell to it. And the sound of insects could be heard. It didn’t take long to reach his destination…the road way open up towards a large pound, and the sound of frogs could be heard singing in the breeze. There was a tree on the other side of a pink willow which glistened in the sun light…the scenery was breath taking…. little wild flower sprouting about. It’s like my friend found a place where magical beings would reside.

I sat on a log beside the pound and went

                “Wow…P when did you find this place?”

He leaned on a green moss tree, staring off at the water

“About a week ago, but I kind of lost my way the last few times we’ve gone Bike riding.”

Oooooo I sang.

“So that’s why we’ve been out here all this week. You were trying to find this place to show me huh?”

He nodded as he picked up a rock and skipped it in the pound. Then he took a deep breath and sulked. Something was wrong. But my friend was private; he won’t tell me if I pry.

   He looked over at me and I could tell he knew I was worried, so he rolled over to me and hugged me.

“Chill chill…I’m good. I’m just happy is all.”

“You called that face happy?” I replied back seriously.

“No I mean it. I’m Good Alissa. And excited…you get to hang out with the big kids now MS 9th grader.”

He teased my ponytail and I yanked away.

  “Oh, please you are like 5 mins older then me! 10th grade and now you think your hot shit.”

He rolled his eyes and slyly replied

   “Baby girl I don’t think…I know so…” I laughed loudly and pushed him.

“Oh, get away from me, you conceded nature freak. You’re like the male snow white. Always singing in damn nature.”

   He frowned up at me and joked

“Well! if I’m so white then you are the dwarf grumpy, because your small and mean all the time!”

I jumped up in a pout as he burst out laughing…I knew I’d lost this battle…so I slowly raised my hands in defeat and headed back to my bike.

  “Whoa wait a second Alissa I was joking…no seriously you can get lost.”

“I see my bike” I pointed pushing through the brush. Finally reaching the tree and I quickly began to mound. Making him believe I was mad just to torment him.

  He climbed on his bike and went

  “Oh, don’t tell me you are mad over a joke…”

I looked up and smiled “No…. it was good. I would be the grumpy dwarf; I can admit that. But I got to head back to the house and clean up a bit. Oh, a dad said come to breakfast. I guess he wants to talk to you about some work stuff.”

   He nodded and began leading back towards the main path of the park. My father owned a grass cutting business…and sometimes Payton would help him out with jobs here and there.

         We finally reached the house and parked are bikes by the back porch and headed inside. My dad loved to cook, and this morning he was going to town. Cheese Omelets, pancakes, bacon, hash browns…

   “It smells good dad!” I sung cheerfully.

“I got to agree, Good Morning Mr. Smith.”

“Good morning son…” My dad replied to us manning the stove. Then he quickly looked at us both.

“You Alissa…upstairs go wash all that Park off you. Smell like a Safari tour.” I frowned as Payton laughed loudly. My dad grilled him next

  “Oh, you too…Nigel Thornberry. You go down the block and wash up too. Yak not eating my food smelling like Wild life and dirt.”

I giggled and waved him off

  “See you in bit P.”

“Alright Alissa. And Mr. S I will return. Those pancakes are too fluffy to leave to, tiny ole Alissa to hog up.”

   “Boy shut up and go home.” I shouted with a smile. He laughed a bit and walked out the door as I ran up the steps to wash and ready for breakfast.

        I took a hot shower and let the water run through my hair as I thought back on the place P showed me. I wondered how he found it. Or what he was doing so far out there all alone? I wondered did him and his Aunt get into again?

   He’d lived with her since his mom been in and out of rehab. MS Angora was fine but his daughter Nicki and him were like fire and ice. They just never seem to mix, and constantly fighting. I wonder if Nicki got under his skin somehow. It wasn’t beneath her to shade him, by calling his mother a crack whore. A term that had him our pull out couch a fair share of times. That’s why I’m glad my dad looks at him like family. I still remember the first-time MS Angora kicked him out.

 

Last year…a few months before his Middle school graduation actually.

     It was late and the sound of rain and thunder had originally woken me up. But my father’s deep voice was what riled me out of bed. It was 1am and my dad had just finished cutting the high school field. So, I wasn’t surprised that he was up, but more so that he was loud whispering over the phone; something was definitely a mist.

    I tippy toed down the stairs to see Payton dripping wet in his uniform clothes. The tan Khakis were now a muddled dark brown soaked from the rain. And his navy-blue cotton shirt clung to his chilled body. He was shivering and his hazel eyes were full of pain and anger. Then he felt my stare and looked me dead in my eyes. I jumped a little…as if I didn’t know who I was looking at. It wasn’t my charismatic, nature going friend I’d grown to know. No…there was pain in his eyes; so much pain yet no tears.

   I could hear my dad on the phone in the kitchen. His heavy voice tired a dry, but still stern and deep.

  “Yes, Rita I know that’s your daughter but this is your sister’s son. You can’t just have him wandering for hours in the rain like that.” There was a pause and a low sound of a woman voice hollering. Then my dad replied.

  “Okay Rita; okay. I will talk to him. Yeah…see you in the morning. Bye bye.”

The sound of the phone hitting the wall receiver snapped me back to the realization that my father thought I was sleep. So, I mouthed silently that “I be back.” To him. And he nodded.

   Good thing I went back upstairs when I did because he quickly went into the living room where Payton was and started talking to him.

   “Your aunt told me her side of it. But I’d like to hear your side before judging anything immaturely. But first let me grab you some clothes.”

  As he came up the steps I ran back into my bed with my back turned to the door and pretended to sleep; incase he decided to check. He did too. I could hear the door creaking as he whispered my name.

   “Alissa baby…you awake?”

I turned around slowly and stretched and yawned and my not so sleepy eyes

   “eunuch daddy? You need me?”

He chuckled and said

“My sweet little princess…my usually grumpy princess. Now I know you was on the stairs.”

Damn…busted.

I shot up and said

  “Okay yeah, I was up, but Payton is in trouble daddy.’ He rose his hand to interrupt me.

“It’s alright sweetheart, I’m not upset. Put some sweats and go in your brother’s room in the basement and straighten up a bit. And also, go see if there some clothes in his drawers; he needs to get out of those wet clothes.

  “Okay daddy.”

  I put on my sweats and went downstairs with my dad who walked over to Payton who was still standing up in the middle of the living room. I guess he didn’t want to wet the couch. So, I quickly ran downstairs in the basement; to the back room where Trent’s old room resides. He was away at Atlanta Tach when this happened. Thankfully the room was already quite tidy, and he left some sweats and a blue t in the dresser. They smelled a little moldy but they would have to do. My dad was huge and muscular and Payton had some built for a teen; but he would still drown in my father’s clothes.

  So quickly I walk back into the living room and gave the clothes to P.

   “Here you go man.”

“Thanks Ali.” He said not looking my way.

My dad touched his shoulder…and P looked into his eyes

“Don’t you want know what happened Mr. S?” he asked.

“Not now; right now, take a hot shower there is extra clean towels and rags in the closet.”

Payton nodded and headed upstairs walking slowly past me, then disappearing altogether. My dad let out a deep sigh and laid his broad body on the gray couch. I did the same.

  “Daddy what did Ms. Angora say on the phone?”

My dad looked at me as if wondering if he should answer. Then he shrugged as if to say this is your friend I might as well.

  “Sweet heart…Payton’s aunt claims that he slapped Nicole in the face and also tried to choke her out when she intervened in the fight. Then she kicked him out and he was wandering about for a few hours…and that’s when I saw him. It started raining so the crew and I finished the field early. Lucky we did or he’d still be out there. I didn’t ask his side yet. But when I do…I’m a need you to go to bed.”

    “But Daddy!”

“No but Daddy me Alissa. This is serious…now I know he is your friend but he is still a young man and you are still my daughter. Now out of love for that boy I want to hear his side but what Rita is saying he got very violent…and I don’t know how I feel about you being around that. I’ll know how to go about this in the morning but for now; go to bed.”

   “Daddy.”

“Alissa!” he shouted.

I knew I could not dissuade him…and I begrudgingly did what I was told. I laid down but sleep came very in and out. I couldn’t sleep knowing I could lose my friend over mean ass Nicki. She probably hit him first, she was known for being a bitch. Everybody in the neighborhood knew that. I knew my dad would see that too.

  

   I turned off the shower and grabbed a robe for my body and towel for my head. After pat drying the excess water out, I began to blow dry it a bit. Still thinking about how all that had played out. Thankfully my father her Payton’s side. Turns out Rita and P’s mom Mya had gotten into it over the phone over money. And Nicki of coursed had to chime in as always being grown; and said “Man don’t give that crack head no more money! Bad enough we got her son here.”

   Before Rita could tell Nicki to go somewhere Payton was already hollering at her in the kitchen and he called Nicki a bitch. And she then jumped over the table and started wailing. The proof of that was the bruises that showed up around his neck and face that following morning. Then he smacked in a defensive motion and Rita then attacked him by jumping on him; and Nicki bounced back and jumped in. Rita boyfriend had heard the commotion and pulled everybody apart, and then he got thrown out. He never even touched Rita. He ended up staying with his father for while down west; then it was back with Rita.

    They get into it…. we’d clean it up…. seemed to be the pattern. I thought as I finished drying my hair; letting it hang curly on my shoulders. I motioned up and put on some white shorts and a pink spaghetti strapped shirt.

   “I just hoped that was not the case today.” Said allowed.

My friend is hard to figure out sometimes. But still my bestie no less.

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