“Oh my god, this girl is crazy!” Kennedi laughed to herself as Payton slid into her driveway filled with snow. Kennedi climbed in the big white Chevy letting her new friend know just how crazy she was. It was snowing that day and Kennedi couldn’t drive very well in snow. In Tennessee, it snowed a wet, heavy snow. Never light and fluffy like Colorado. Kennedi worked part time where Payton did and recently they’d been working the same shift so it only made sense to ride together.
The two met about a year ago, only becoming close in the recent months. Their children went to the same elementary school. Through relieving each other at work and passing one another in the car rider line a friendship began.
“She looks amazing!” Payton whispered to herself as Kennedi sat next to her in the front seat. Kennedi was gorgeous. She had blonde, shoulder length hair and light green eyes that grabbed you and held on. Her eyes were literally captivating. Kennedi was tall and skinny. She was just right in Payton’s eyes. She was so funny and had just as perverse sense of humor as Payton. Kennedi caught Payton’s eye the day they met. Payton knew Kennedi was a single Mom of two young boys.
When they met Payton thought there is no way that girl has any homo tendencies. That was ok with her; she could quietly crush on her and admire her from afar. Kennedi was often lonely so therefore she flirted with anything that walked. She wasn’t a slut but she craved the attention. Payton wasn’t sure how to take the flirting and she noticed an annoyed feeling when she saw Kennedi flirt with other male and female co-workers.
They started playing cards at work as a way to pass the time. Talking about life, love, family and memorable nights a bond was formed. Payton was in her late twenties and gay and Kennedi, also was in her late twenties, but wasn’t gay. Payton was a huge flirt and would harmlessly flirt with Kennedi. Kennedi began flirting back which surprised Payton and herself. When their hands would touch each one would freeze. This caught Kennedi by surprise. “What in the hell was happening? I’m not a lesbian!” Kennedi thought. She found herself flushed when Payton’s arm would touch hers. Payton would catch herself staring at Kennedi as she concentrated and didn’t dare move when Kennedi’s hair graced her arms. Payton would find any excuse to text Kennedi. They began to text almost every day. Kennedi thought about her way more than she probably should. Payton was so funny. She drew in people like a magnet. Everyone that met her instantly loved her. Kennedi felt strangely close to Payton. She trusted and confided in her in a way she had never done with a girl that was a friend.
Kennedi usually talked Payton’s ear off on the way to work but today she was more reserved. Payton noticed a new perfume on Kennedi and liked it. Payton asked what it was and Kennedi replied with it was new scent from Victoria’s Secret. Kennedi noticed Payton’s right hand wasn’t resting on the stick shift like it usually was. It was actually lightly resting on Kennedi’s bag between them. Kennedi grew nervous just looking down at her detailed hand. She found herself wanting to hold it. ‘What the hell? I don’t like chicks… I can’t!’ Kennedi frantically tried to get the thoughts from her head. It had been several months since she had been in any kind of relationship. This new excitement of Payton made her feel alive again. Payton made her laugh and blush. She felt the blood rushing though her veins again.
Nonchalantly Kennedi rested her left hand beside Payton’s. Seeing this in her right peripheral vision Payton quietly smiled to herself as butterflies took over her stomach. ‘Should I make a move?’ Payton thought. Was Kennedi really interested in her? Sometimes they would flirt harmlessly and joke but this felt different. Payton looked over at Kennedi and when their eyes locked this time something was very, very different. There was a more sincere look in Kennedi’s eyes. She wanted to be closer than the two feet they already shared. Slowly Payton scooted her right pinky towards Kennedi’s gently making contact. Kennedi’s smile turned to a grin as she wrapped her pinky around Payton’s. The two of them froze in that moment and not another word was spoken the last seven and a half minutes to work.
Work seemed to drag by that night. Payton couldn’t stop thinking about Kennedi’s cold, soft little finger. Occasionally the two would make eye contact and smile. Kennedi seemed on edge the whole night while Payton was more calm and controlled. Payton couldn’t wait to be inches away from the blonde haired, green eyed beauty she was crushing on. Small talk about work started the trip home. No one attempted to hold anyone’s hand throughout the ride. Payton was a bit confused and Kennedi was just way too nervous and bewildered with herself. They pulled in to Kennedi’s driveway and sat there for several minutes. Occasionally making eye contact and smiling. It was that weird awkward moment one tends to have in high school on a first date. Opening the door to the truck Kennedi shyly asked Payton if she wanted to come in for a while. The babysitter was leaving and her children were sleeping. She wasn’t tired yet. Payton was as single as they come and she didn’t have anywhere to be. She gladly accepted the invite. Before she got out of the truck she spritzed a little more smell good on.
Payton cracked the seal of a very “classy” boxed wine selection Kennedi made. It took all she could not to show how nervous she was as she watched Kennedi emerge from her bathroom in her skin tight black yoga pants and hot pink baggy shirt. Did she always have to be so damn hot?! Her make-up was flawless and her hair to match. Payton was the exact opposite. Payton was on the chubby side and country. T shirt and blue jeans kind of girl with camo Justin boots. Her hair was short and always pulled back with a head band on. All the lady homo’s sported this head band thingy. Payton felt like a hippo next to this beautiful creature staring at her. ‘How in the fuck is this happening right now?! It’s like Beauty and the Beast in here!’ Payton thought as she shook her head to herself. Kennedi was obsessed with trashy reality shows such as basketball wives, housewives of wherever, and teen mom. Payton wasn’t a big fan but if that’s what Kennedi wanted to watch then by god that’s what they would watch.
They took their wine to the living room and each one sat at opposite ends of the couch. As the wine flowed they talked and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Payton got up to refill their glasses once more and just before sitting back down Kennedi spoke up saying “I don’t bite, you don’t have to sit so far away…” Payton froze. ‘Oh dear lord don’t let my knees fail me now!’ she thought. Managing to hold the glasses steady as she sat next to Kennedi who shifted her body inwards towards Payton. They weren’t exactly touching but soon they migrated toward one another. Before either of them knew it those damn pinkies were locked in again. It’s crazy how something small and harmless could be so monumental.
When the box of wine was empty Payton politely stated it was probably a good time to leave. They both looked at each other with a hint of sadness but knew it was time. Kennedi walked her out. It was still lightly snowing as they walked to the truck and halted face to face. Kennedi had a robe draped over her shoulders and Payton didn’t have her jacket on. Drinking alcohol always made her hot blooded. Thank god it was winter and she wasn’t sweating.
Kennedi lifted her arms to hug Payton for the first time ever. Smoothly Payton slid her hands inside Kennedi’s open robe and across her warm back. Kennedi tensed a little and held on to Payton’s neck facing away. Payton held Kennedi tight yet gentle and said “you’re a good hugger!” Kennedi slowly lifted her head and turned her face inwards nuzzling Payton’s neck. The two stayed there for several moments. Kennedi started to pull away first. Payton ran her hands across Kennedi’s back, down the back of her arms and took her hands in her own. Interlocking their fingers she brought them up between them keeping Kennedi’s eyes locked in her own. Dropping her head she softly kissed each one of Kennedi’s hands and thanked her for the evening. Kennedi couldn’t contain it anymore. All day she struggled with her feelings and finally she gave in. She lifted Payton’s chin and gently kissed her. Payton took Kennedi’s face in her hands and kissed her back. After she felt Kennedi come back to reality and tense up she let go. What seemed like minutes was only seconds. They hugged again; Kennedi thanked her for coming and started walking inside. Payton grabbed her chest just over her heart as she watched Kennedi disappear inside the house.
Each of them settled in separate beds in separate houses that night with the same big grin. They both felt as if they could float away. Payton lay in bed replaying the night over and over again in her head. Sometimes a laugh and a soft “hell yea!” would emerge from her lips.
The next morning she woke up with the sun, as happy as the little birds outside her window. She checked her phone to see a message from Kennedi. Nervously she opened the message and it read “Good morning, want to ride with me to work today? P.S. That smile you gave me is still there.”
“I cannot believe that happened! Did that really happen?!” Kennedi kept questioning herself all morning. Granted she had drunkenly kissed girls before but this was different. It felt different. She text Payton around noon and told her she couldn’t give her a ride to work. She lied and said her mom text her and wanted to have lunch before she went in. She wasn’t ready to face the girl who was turning her world inside out.
Payton sunk as she looked at her phone. The high cloud she was riding quickly dissipated. Something wasn’t right. She had the gut feeling that Kennedi was beginning to regret what happened the night before. “But she was semi-sober… She kissed me…” Payton thought. She had kissed many girls but seventy-five percent were “drunk”. She didn’t like that. She learned quickly that she was only good for the moment. It wasn’t about her. Wanting to kiss her or be with her. She was convenient in their time of drunken loneliness. She was comfortable to them and the next day they would blame it on the alcohol. The kiss wouldn’t mean anything. Payton felt this let down feeling many times before. You would figure she was used to it by now. She liked Kennedi though. Kennedi made the moves. ‘Oh well’ She thought. ‘Hint taken, time to back off and give the girl some space Payton’
Kennedi pulled in the back parking lot to see Payton’s truck already there. Butterflies and nerves took over her stomach. She felt bad for lying. She walked in to work and saw Payton in the kitchen making coffee. She couldn’t bring herself to say hi. She went to her station and settled for the day. Payton emerged from the kitchen to see Kennedi’s blond hair at her station. ‘And now begins the avoiding me stage’ Payton thought as she sat in her station in front of Kennedi. There was a third person tonight. That would help ease the tension. Only work conversations happened that night. When Payton had to talk to Kennedi their eyes locked and it hit Payton hard. The look she saw the night before in Kennedi’s eyes was non-existent.
Inside Kennedi was trying to hold it together. Payton looked nice today. She saw her in a different light, her eyes were softer but she could not act on these feelings and tried to push them from her head. When she caught herself staring at Payton from the back of the room she would tell herself this was not right. Growing up in the Bible belt Kennedi was brought up with the idea that gay was bad. Her family was against it, but she as an individual didn’t care. She decided she had to hide these feelings and hopefully, eventually they would all go away.
When the shift was over Payton had to address the situation. As they walked out the back door Payton spoke up and asked “Are you ok?” Politely Kennedi said “Yes, just have a lot on my mind.” Kennedi hid her confusion behind her little smile and didn’t make eye contact. When Kennedi got in her car she rolled the window down. Payton walked over and leaned in the window. She softly touched the top of Kennedi’s hand on the steering wheel and said “It’s ok. I get it, but I don’t regret it. Last night felt amazing.” Payton saw tears well up in Kennedi’s sea green eyes. She wanted to hug her but she could see Kennedi was in pain and that would only make it worse. Before she walked away Payton told Kennedi she would give her space and if she needed her she was seven digits away. Kennedi sat and cried in silence for several minutes in the parking lot. She wanted Payton. She was everything she ever dreamed of in her ‘perfect person’. “Why couldn’t we have crossed paths years ago before I had two kids? Why does she have to be a fucking girl?”
For the next several days Payton checked her phone continuously hoping to see Kennedi’s name on the screen. She wouldn’t see her again for a few weeks. Kennedi was a part-timer so she only worked when needed. Payton would look on facebook messenger and see that Kennedi was ‘active now’. This was torture. Sometimes she would feel phantom vibrations, but the text and calls never came.
Kennedi wished Payton would attempt to contact her in some way but she knew Payton meant what she said. She was too understanding sometimes.
A couple of times a day Kennedi would go look at Payton’s facebook page and look at her photos. After a few weeks the feelings never went away; she wanted Payton in her life as friends or as more? She didn’t know. She didn’t care. She missed her friend. She picked up her phone and opened a new text message. “Hey…”
“SHE TEXTED ME!!” echoed in Payton’s barn. The dog and cat sat up from their late afternoon nap and looked at her like she was insane. She was building floating shelves for her bathroom. She wiped the saw dust off her phone and opened the message. She seriously wanted to wait a good 30 minutes to respond to not seem so desperate but 30 seconds would do! She responded with a simple “Hey Stranger. How are you?” Kennedi was happy to see Payton responded quickly.
Kennedi wanted to see Payton she hadn’t seen her in two and a half weeks. She said she wanted to talk and prayed Payton would invite her over. Payton caught the vibe and invited her over. When Kennedi replied she would be there in fifteen minutes Payton swore to herself she wasn’t going to get her hopes up.
Sure enough on the dot the green SUV pulled down the gravel drive to the barn. She saw Payton with her normal dirty blond hair and headband ensemble. She was wearing a grey cut off sleeve shirt and blue jeans. Her jeans were slightly tucked in to her boots. Kennedi though Payton looked adorable. She grabbed Payton’s cherry Dr. Pepper and got out of the car. Payton tried to control her nerves as she began to walk towards Kennedi. Her hair was wavy today with a little wildness to it. She was wearing a hot pink t-shirt, jeans and her light brown moccasin shoes. She looked beautiful as always. The tall, blond haired, green eyed figure started towards her.
‘Thank you Jesus for letting her parents meet!’ Payton thought with a smile. When they met Payton took the two drinks from Kennedi’s hands, set them on the ground and grabbed Kennedi for a huge hug. Kennedi was a little stunned but loved every second of the welcome. Payton smelled good. It was a mix of cologne and saw dust. She was country to the core and Kennedi was never really attracted to that type before. Payton grabbed the drinks and they walked side by side to the pond behind the barn. A large oak tree shaded the old picnic table where they sat.
“What’s up butter-cup?!” Payton asked. Kennedi nervously looked up at Payton. Payton knew what was coming couldn’t be good.
“I’ve missed you… but…” Payton’s head dropped a little but she regained her composure and kept eye contact. The words hit Payton like a ton of bricks but she couldn’t blame Kennedi. Kennedi confessed how she felt about Payton but she was a conservative mother of two and she could not pursue this anymore. She was worried about her family and friends finding out and just couldn’t handle that pressure. They could remain friends and she wasn’t going to lead her on anymore. She didn’t want to give her false hope.
Payton took it like a champ. It wasn’t her first rodeo. It hurt but she somewhat saw it coming. Payton brushed it off and her humor set in. It is her coping mechanism. They laughed and joked for about an hour before Kennedi left.
To Payton, work was boring now. Kennedi hadn’t been filling in. They rarely text anymore. Life got boring. There was nothing to get excited about. Several weeks had gone since Payton and Kennedi had talked or hung out.
One night at work Francis asked if anyone wanted to go out and have drinks this coming weekend. Payton was all in! Four others joined in including Khloe. Khloe and Kennedi were great friends and Payton prayed Khloe would invite Kennedi. She wasn’t going to dare ask her too. Khloe would tease Payton about Kennedi. Not so much anymore since their friendship had pretty much ceased to exist. Khloe was really good friends with Payton also. Payton didn’t have many close friends but Key-key was one of them.
Friday afternoon Kennedi got a text from Khloe that said “Hey Guuurl!! Saturday night a few of us from the work place are going out after work. You should come!!!” Kennedi was interested and inquired who all was going. Khloe text back a list including Francis, herself, Payton, Brett, and Michelle. Francis, Brett and Michelle were bringing their significant others and Payton was bringing her friend Kara that was in town for a visit. That immediately took Kennedi by surprise but she still wanted to go Saturday night.
Kennedi heard many stories about Kara. Kara was Payton’s first crush. That’s a whole other story though. Kennedi’s brother was busy and couldn’t go so she found a sitter and left for the bar solo.
She arrived at McMasters Irish Pub to see Francis and Khloe’s car already there. She looked for Payton’s truck but didn’t see it. She felt a little let down and thought about texting her but she quickly decided against it. She was worried it would be awkward. She was afraid Payton was going to ignore her or treat her like shit. Slowly she got out of her Jeep, checked herself in the driver side mirror one more time and proceeded inside.
Payton talked Kara’s ears off about Kennedi on the way to the bar. She told her the whole story and Kara listened intently. She wasn’t gay herself but it was exciting to hear about. Kara loved a good saucy romance. Kara knew Payton inside and out. She knew that when Payton crushed, she crushed hard. When she loved, she loved hard. She knew Payton was getting into trouble over this straight girl but being the good friend was, she supported Payton. Pulling in to the Bar Payton was shocked and very surprised to see Kennedi’s vehicle there. “Oh shit, she’s here!!” Payton freaked out to Kara. Payton began to shake a little with excitement. “Calm down Payton, you got this. You. Got. This.” Payton began to calm herself down. She doused herself in her favorite cologne while Kara laughed. With nerves in her stomach, Payton and Kara headed in to the bar.
McMasters was dark and smoky. It smelled like a mix of cigarettes and whiskey. Payton spotted Kennedi right off and had stopped her knees from shaking. Kennedi was talking to the group of co-workers stationed by the pool tables. To the left of them was the bar.
Kara took one look at Kennedi and thought two things. One, no wonder Payton is hung up on her. Two, I wonder if people think she’s prettier than me. She couldn’t help but notice a slight jealous feeling take over her mind.
Since high school Payton had been head over heels for Kara and Kara knew it. Kara was by no means a lesbian but Payton held a special place in her heart. Payton was comfort and security for her. There was never any romance between them but anyone who knew them saw a special connection. Kara slid her arm in Payton’s as they walked to the group.
Payton was taken by surprise when Kara slid her arm in hers but didn’t mind. It wasn’t out of the norm for them to be friendly affectionate. On the plus side it was like a rush, Payton secretly hoped it would make Kennedi just a bit jealous. Kara secretly wished the same thing but in her own motives.
Yells of welcoming came from the group of friends when they spotted Payton. Payton greeted them all in the same manner accept Kennedi. She went over and gave her a side hug and said ‘I’m glad you came!’ Kennedi replied “Ditto!” with a smile as she saw Kara. Her eyes locked on the 5’8, slender female standing by Payton. She had gorgeous long brown hair and beautiful hazel eyes. She had a very pretty face with pouty lips. Kennedi couldn’t help but notice Kara was blessed in the chest in her low cut black shirt. ‘She’s beautiful… no wonder Payton used like her.’ Kennedi thought to herself.
Payton asked Kara what she wanted and they decided that a shot of Patron would start the night off great. While Payton waited for her order at the bar she studied Kennedi. Kennedi looked amazing tonight. Her little black dress and heels were immediately a turn on. Her blonde hair was down and straightened perfectly and her makeup, again, was flawless. She loved watching her from afar, admiring Kennedi as she laughed and smiled with the group.
Drinks flowed, laughter filled the air and everyone was having a great time. Khloe was killing it at karaoke. That girl could sing! Payton played pool with everyone and Kennedi couldn’t keep her eyes off of Payton. Her eyes were intense, her game face was on and that sparked something in Kennedi. The alcohol might be playing a factor but she didn’t care. Payton’s tan arms were strong and her light blue polo accented the muscle of her upper arm. Her jeans were a little tight and she had a strut to her step. Kennedi thought she was insanely adorable all puffed up like a peacock trying to impress the ladies and challenge the guys.
They all shared conversation and small talk. Sometimes in a large group and sometimes one person would be talking to another off to the side. Kennedi and Khloe went to the bar and Payton took a break from pool. She sat on one of the higher stools at the table where everyone congregated. She sat with her knees apart and boot heels up on the foot rest.
Kennedi noticed Kara approach Payton and drunkenly throw her arms around her neck as she stood between Payton’s legs. This lit Kennedi on fire. Whether it was the fire ball or jealousy her blood pressure started to rising. Khloe noticed Kennedi had stopped talking and followed her friends gaze. Khloe saw Kara with one arm around Payton leaning on her leg but still between them.
“What is THAT about?” she asked Kennedi. Kennedi snapped back to reality and lowered her horns. ‘It’s on now!’ she thought to herself as she looked around for the cutest guy she could find.
Payton couldn’t help but laugh at how Kara was rambling on about how cute Francis was in her ear. Kara was feeling good but not drunk yet. Payton caught a glimpse of Kennedi staring at them and immediately felt guilty. But why? Kennedi made it clear she didn’t want her. She shouldn’t feel bad for Kara hugging and hanging on her. Payton brushed it off and called Francis over and started a conversation between him and Kara. The two talked and laughed while Payton’s eyes migrated back to Kennedi and Khloe.
Two guys in their mid-twenties stood in front of Kennedi at the bar. A tall skinny, Abercrombie, khaki shorts wearing dude was talking to her. Kennedi was avoiding eye contact with him and fidgeting with her hands and hair. These were clear signs she was interested in the guy and Payton felt her heart sink a little. She knew it was inevitable for a guy to approach Kennedi but, fuck, it sucked to watch.
Payton downed her beer and immersed herself in a game of pool with Brett. She tried so hard not to look at Kennedi but every time she heard her laugh Payton’s blood pressure rose higher and higher. When the game finished Payton needed a beer and walked to the bar.
Kennedi saw Payton coming and moved closer to the new guy. Payton ordered her Miller Lite and waited patiently trying to ignore what was going on a few feet from her. Payton paid for her beer and walked past them. She caught Kennedi’s eyes as Kennedi wrapped her arms around the new guy. Payton gripped her bottle neck a little tighter and puffed her cigarette a little harder. It half way felt like Kennedi was taunting her, trying to make her jealous. It was working.
Payton set her beer on the table and grabbed Kara to go dance. A fast country song was playing and the two of them two stepped all over that dance floor. Kara could sense something was wrong with her friend. She asked what was going on as the song ended and a slow song began. Kara kept Payton’s hand and held on to her shoulder asking for another dance.
Payton told her about the burning eye contact and obvious flirting Kennedi was doing. Kara peered beyond Payton to see Kennedi staring at them. In Payton’s ear Kara whispered “She’s watching us now. Want me to give her some of her own medicine?” Payton grabbed Kara tighter and nodded with a smile saying “Hell yes!”
The two of them were like one swaying back and forth to the music. Kara rested her head on Payton’s shoulder tightening her grip around Payton’s neck. At the end of the song Payton twirled Kara one more time then kissed her hand. Kara returned the gratitude with a soft kiss on Payton’s cheek.
Seeing this Kennedi became livid and out of pure jealousy kissed the tall stranger in front of her. Walking back to the table hand in hand Payton felt a sudden jolt and turned to see Kara staring. Payton followed her gaze to witness the kiss and see Kennedi staring straight at her when she pulled away as if saying ‘Check mate Bitch!’
Payton exploded with anger. shouting a very loud “FUCK THIS!” Payton grabbed her beer and went outside. Kara and Khloe followed her out inquiring what was wrong. Kara knew and Khloe had a sense of what was going on. They talked to Payton and after a few cigarettes she began to cool down.
Inside the bar Kennedi felt on top of the world. She was drunk and to her, she won. She slightly felt bad but she kept replaying what she saw between Payton and Kara, she saw the chemistry between them. Seeing that killed her. As much as she didn’t want to admit it she was flat out jealous.
A few minutes later she saw Payton make a B line solo for the bathroom. Payton looked angry and hurt. The guilt hit Kennedi and enough was enough. She went in the bathroom after Payton and locked the door.
“What in the hell are you doing in here?!” Payton spat out while washing her hands.
“What’s your deal Payton?” Kennedi stood there arms crossed.
“Doesn’t matter…” Payton still hadn’t looked at Kennedi.
“Well something is obviously wrong, just spit it out. We need to hash this shit out!’ Kennedi pleaded.
“Seems like you got yourself a new boyfriend, good luck with that!” Payton rolled her eyes as she tried to grab the door handle to leave. Kennedi put herself between Payton and the door
“And you seem to be igniting an old flame with Kara. What in the fuck is that about?! You two have looked real cozy all night.” Kennedi said.
Payton was taken aback by this remark. She could hear jealousy in Kennedi’s tone.
“Really, Kennedi? She’s my best friend. No, that flame went out years ago!”
“Well she sure was hugging up on you earlier and that display on the dance floor. She was ALL over you… Bravo!” Kennedi clapped sarcastically as she mocked Payton.
“If you are referring to her hugging me and whispering in my ear, she was talking about Francis and how I need to hook them up! And the dance floor… why do you even give a damn?!”
“I don’t…” Kennedi said looking at the floor.
“Quit with the games. Why are you in here? What do you want?” said Payton.
Kennedi shifted her weight and thought for a minute. ‘What am I doing?’ She opened her mouth to speak but no words came. She cared. She cared a lot about Payton. Her drunken mind wanted to spill all her thoughts and feelings but the other half of her brain stayed reserved. ‘No, I can’t. I’m not gay.’
Payton saw Kennedi struggling with something inside her mind and became seriously frustrated.
“If your goal in making out with that guy was to piss me off and hurt me, congratulations! You did one hell of a job. Why look at me though while you kiss him? I see your games and I’m not playing them!”
“You’re right… It was just to piss you off. I’m sorry but after I saw that display between you and Kara….” She dropped her head looking at her shoes.
“That killed me. I had to, to make myself feel better.” She admitted.
Sweat started building up on her forehead. Payton took a step back and wiped her brow.
“What are you saying Kennedi? You told me weeks ago you and I would never be anything. Then tonight you put on a production intended to make me jealous.”
Kennedi stood there in silence. Payton was looking at her with pleading eyes to say something. Anything. Tears began to fill Payton’s blue eyes while she gripped her chest saying
“Damn it Kennedi, Can’t you see? I like you. I’ve liked you for a while now. I want you. When I held you that night in your drive way, I knew. You kissed me that night! You kissed me. I know you feel something too!”
Kennedi wiped a tear from her right cheek as she unlocked the door. Turning to look at Payton she shook her head and whispered “I can’t…I’m sorry” as she walked out of the bathroom.
Sorrow filled Kennedi’s heart as she grabbed her purse and headed for the door without saying bye to anyone. Payton grabbed Kara and they left McMasters together. The liquor store was still open. The depression forced Payton to buy a twelve pack and head home.
Kennedi cried the whole way out of town. Pulling in to her driveway she heard a song come on the radio. She flashed back to when Payton showed her this song a few weeks ago. “Fuck it, I don’t care what people think!” She blew her nose, fixed her hair and face. She pointed her Jeep in Payton’s direction and hauled ass.
Meanwhile at Payton’s, her and Kara drank a few more beers down the by the pond after they got home. Payton sat on top of the picnic table with her boots on the seat and Kara sat on the seat legs stretched out in front of her. Payton needed another beer and on her way back from the barn fridge she noticed Kara looked enchanting as the moonlight reflected off the water and danced on her face. She stood in front of Kara to sit a beer beside her. Without warning she grabbed Kara’s face and kissed her. Kara had a minor freak out and tried to push Payton away but her drunken, lonely state of mind said ‘fuck it’ so she went with it. She kissed Payton back and began to stand up. Payton grabbed Kara around the waste and pulled her closer. A bright light began to interrupt their moment and they both turned to see two head lights pointed right at them. Payton let out a soft “Kennedi?” with Kara still in her arms. When Payton topped the hill all she saw was a dusty red glow and the Jeep symbol disappeared.
“That fucking bitch!” Kennedi slammed her hand on the steering wheel. Her tears weren’t from crying, but from anger. She felt deceived and like a fool. “Fuck her. I’m done with this.”
Payton felt awful.
“Well, that was not supposed to happen…” She looked at Kara and apologized. The kiss was completely meaningless and spontaneous. Kara felt bad too. She could clearly see that Payton liked Kennedi. It was time for bed. Lying in bed Payton debated on whether to text Kennedi or not.
‘What did she come over for? How could I have been so damn stupid.’ she thought. She grabbed her phone and sent a message. “That kiss meant nothing. Can we talk? I’m sorry.” Kennedi heard Payton’s tone jingle from her phone. She couldn’t believe Payton had the balls to contact her. She opened the message and laughed. At this moment she felt nothing for Payton. That ship had sailed. She sent back a polite ‘Go fuck yourself’ Payton deserved that response and after replying ‘ok’ attempted to go to sleep.
Sunday was a day of regret. Kara and Kennedi had breakfast and discussed the night before. There was a lot of drama. Kara could see Payton felt terrible for what Kennedi had seen. Payton told Kara about how she text Kennedi last night and the response she received. There was nothing she could do. The damage had been done.
It was time for Kara to go back to her hometown of Kyler. She packed her bags and headed out, but not without making a pit stop first.
“DING DONG!” the doorbell woke Kennedi. She had only slept a few hours and was able to sleep in since her sister had her boys. She lazily threw her hair up, put on a bra and headed to the door. She figured it was neighborhood kids wanting her kids to play. When she opened the door to see Kara standing there she froze. Anger and confusion began flowing in her veins. She closed the door on Kara and tried to take a breath.
“Knock, Knock, Knock”
‘Is this bitch serious right now?!’ Kennedi rolled her eyes.
“Kennedi please open the door and let me talk.” Kara had a serious tone to her voice
“Nope, I have nothing to say, please leave!” Kennedi locked the door with a little more force than usual.
“Then listen to what I have to say…. I saw the way you looked at her last night. I know you hate me right now and you have every right to but please just let me talk.” Kara pleaded.
Rage had already built in Kennedi and she really didn’t want to see this girls face. She thought about Payton for a second and all the intentional things she did to make her jealous. She wasn’t exactly a victim here. Her hands shook as she reached for the locks on the door.
“Thank you” Kara said taking a breath. “I sense you don’t really want me in your house so can we go sit on my tailgate?”
Without making eye contact Kennedi crossed her arms and headed to the driveway. As Kara lit a cigarette she offered one to Kennedi. She declined and jumped on the tailgate.
Kara took a few puffs and after a few silent minutes she confused Kennedi by starting the conversation by saying “I know how you feel, believe it or not… It would be so much easier if she was a guy right?”
Kennedi was caught off guard by the comment and couldn’t help letting out a little laugh in agreement. Her anger started to subside as Kara began to talk again.
“All I have heard since I got here is Kennedi this and Kennedi that.”
Kennedi rolled her eyes and grabbed the pack of cigarettes.
“Payton adores you! Do you not see the way she looks at you? I’ve been hearing about you for months now. I know everything that has happened between you two. What’s the deal?”
Becoming agitated Kennedi started swinging her legs and bluntly stated “Don’t act like you know me! You wouldn’t understand.”
Kara sarcastically smiled and said “Let me guess….. You aren’t gay. You’ve never been attracted to a girl. Payton excites you but the thought of “being gay” terrifies you. You family won’t approve. You are scared your friends will treat you different and you won’t be accepted.” As Kara rambled off a few more facts Kennedi looked at her in amazement. ‘How in the hell does she know all this?’ she thought.
Kara saw Kennedi looking at her like she was crazy. She followed with “I was you. I was in the same position you are in. I met Payton in high school. She grew on me. I started to feel things I hadn’t felt before and it scared me. After sometime Payton confessed her feelings for me. I was blindsided and I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified. I’m not gay, but I really liked Payton. I’ve never been attracted to girls before. Hell, I wasn’t even attracted to Payton but her heart, her humor and personality had a hold on me. She made me feel like I was really something special. I was too scared of what and how I would be seen if I was in a relationship with a girl. “
Kennedi let out a deep sigh. “I guess you do understand. What did you do?”
“I talked myself out of my feelings for her and turned her down.” Kara said as she looked at Kennedi.
“I got a boyfriend and forced those”gay” thoughts from my head. I’ve had a few heartbreaks through the years and each time Payton was there holding me tight in the aftermath. She’s kind and caring. She’s respectful, loving and loyal. She’ll make you laugh and do everything in her power to make her girlfriend happy. I’ve seen it with my own eyes watching her in past relationships. At times I was envious of these girls and kicked myself for not taking a chance on her. I wonder what it would have been like.”
The kiss from last night instantly returned to Kennedi’s mind and she sarcastically said “Apparently whatever y’all have is still there. It was obvious last night!”
“I’m really sorry you had to see that. That was completely fucked up and I feel terrible for it. Payton feels even worse. When I was hanging all over her I was asking her about Francis. The dancing, that was a show to piss you off. I saw what you were doing to her and honestly you needed a dose of your own medicine. The kiss…that was nothing.” She took a breath and puffed on another cigarette
Kennedi rolled her eyes and balled her fist.
“Let me finish!” Kara said. “Payton was so torn up about what happened at the bar she cried when we left. We stopped at the liquor store, grabbed some more beer and went to her house. She said you turned her down and made it clear there was nothing and there was never going to be anything between y’all. Payton used me to try and get over you. Ease that pain a little. She was hurt and angry not to mention very drunk. They always say the best way to get over somebody is to get under someone else. In Payton’s case, it’s making out. We’ve never had sex and we never will. Neither of us expected you of all people to show up. I kissed back because… honestly why not? I was drunk, haven’t had a boyfriend in a while and Payton’s a good kisser. So I went with it. Payton’s too respectful to ever go any further with it. A random drunk kiss is all it was. No feelings, no old flames igniting. Just a meaningless drunk kiss on both sides.”
Kennedi was quiet for a few minutes and lit up another cigarette. She didn’t even smoke but all of this was overwhelming. She thought about all the meaningless drunk kisses she had in her life and slowly began to understand. She started to cry and Kara could see how torn she was.
“Don’t be me Kennedi. Don’t be scared to take that chance. Don’t worry about how others will see you or what they will say about you. Payton’s worth it. I promise you that.”
Kennedi said a soft “I just don’t know…” as she scooted off the tailgate. Kara hugged her and left. Kennedi went back in her house, fell in to the comfort of her bed and cried until she fell asleep.
Fall came fast and it was Payton’s favorite time of year. Leaves were turning beautiful colors, Halloween was coming soon and that meant Thanksgiving and Christmas were right around the corner. It had been several months since Payton had seen Kennedi. After two weeks of being ignored and eventually being deleted on Facebook by Kennedi, Payton cut her losses and stopped trying. She deleted her number and pictures from her phone. It literally hurt to look at her. When she closed her eyes she could still see the look on Kennedi’s face when she saw Payton and Kara kissing. She still heard every word Kennedi told her in the bathroom of McMasters. All of it haunted her. When Payton talked to Kara from time to time Kara would always inquire if Kennedi had reached out and the answer was always no. After two months Payton asked her to stop asking.
Payton’s sister, Shawna, came to visit for Halloween. Shawna had two children. One six year old girl named Hayden and a feisty four year old boy named Max. Hayden was a zombie softball player while Max was a wild Indian. Payton went dressed as a doctor and Shawna went as a witch .The night was cool and crisp. The black pavement was still wet and shiny from a brief shower an hour before they began their pursuit of candy. They decided to trick-or-treat in the richest neighborhood in town. They handed out full candy bars, anything less was unacceptable for her overly excited niece and nephew. Those kids were Payton’s world!
They approached a large two story stone house with a fabulously decorated yard. A gigantic spider covered the entire front yard. It was so big you had to walk under a spider leg to get to the door. The children were too scared to go alone so Payton and her sister joined them at the front door. The door swung open and the happy clown that opened the door immediately became stone faced and frozen. It was Kennedi. Payton’s eyes widened and a faint “Holy fuck” quietly came from her mouth as she made eye contact with Kennedi. Shawna hit Payton in the shoulder and Max loudly said “You can’t say fuck around kids Aunt Payton!” Payton quickly apologized to her nephew as everyone giggled over the six year old cussing. The kids sang the traditional ‘Trick or Treat’ and Kennedi handed the kids their candy and closed the door never making eye contact with Payton again.
“Remember that girl I was telling you about?” Payton asked Shawna as they walked away from the house.
“Yea, the pretty straight girl?
“Yep, well… that was her.”
“The clown??!! She didn’t look too happy to see you” Shawna exclaimed.
Payton told her all about the night at McMasters Pub. Her sister listened intently and felt for Payton. She could see the hurt in her eyes.
Payton took a few vacation days and went home with Shawna to see her family. Kennedi covered for Payton while she was gone. Seeing Payton’s name and handwriting on the time sheet made Kennedi feel angry and annoyed. Part of her took an extra second to look at her name and the other part became angered and forced her to look away.
Khloe worked with Kennedi a few times and saw she was noticeably different. Khloe knew what was going on. Payton confided in her and she knew all the details. Kennedi didn’t know she knew but she wanted to hear how she was. At first Kennedi avoided talking about it. No one knew how she felt about Payton and no one ever would.
Brett walked out for a smoke break and Khloe took full advantage of the situation to privately ask Kennedi. She whirled around in her office chair and put her chin on the partition between their stations.
“Are you ever going to tell me whats going on between you and Payton?”
Kennedi was shocked and replied with “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Don’t play stuck on stupid with me girl. I know something has happened. You two were inseparable and now any mention of the others name sends each of you through a cycle of emotions. I’m not blind. I see it.”
“Nothing is going on, we just aren’t friends anymore.” Kennedi shot back emotionless.
“Ok. That’s fine. I get it. You don’t want to talk.” Khloe slowly turned her chair back around and started doodling. She hoped Kennedi would take the bait and patiently waited for it to hit her.
“Wait! You said anytime you mention either of our names? So that means Payton’s been acting weird?”
“I thought you didn’t care.” Khloe shot back without turning around.
“Well I really don’t but you brought it up.”
Khloe stood up and came around to sit on the edge of Micah’s desk. “She’s different. She’d kill me if I told you but I’ve caught her doodling your name a few times amongst stars and hearts. She feels terrible for what happen.”
As Khloe was speaking the word ‘happen’ they both heard the door open and Khloe quickly changed the subject. Kennedi felt relieved she stopped talking about it but Payton started filling her mind again.
Payton came back from her vacation relaxed and well rested. The fall colors were at their peak and the mountain air turned colder. This was Payton’s favorite time to be in her barn working on projects. That night a strong front was moving in from the northwest and the wind started to pick up a little. Large rain drops began to fall from the dark sky above. Payton went to close the big sliding barn door when she noticed headlights coming fast down the driveway. She stood in the half open doorway with a cautious look on her face. Shock took over when she saw Kennedi emerge from the vehicle.
“What are you doing here?” Payton asked with confusion in her voice.
Kennedi charged towards Payton as if she didn’t hear her. Rain was pelting her face and soaking her clothes
“Kennedi are you ok? What’s going on?” Payton pleaded as she took a few steps forward.
Kennedi lept on to Payton, tightly wrapping her legs around her waist. She grabbed Payton’s face between her hands and whispered “I can’t deny this anymore.”
Payton held her tight as rain drenched their clothes. She couldn’t tell if it was rain drops or tears running down Kennedi’s beautiful face. Payton looked deep in Kennedi’s eyes and kissed her. Kennedi felt the strength in Payton’s arms as she carried her in the barn and gently laid her on the couch. Kennedi’s eyes were wild with lust and wonder as she ripped at Payton’s clothes. Payton didn’t object and quickly undressed Kennedi. Outside, thunder and lightning were taking over the sky. Inside the electricity was building.
With passion flowing through their veins the two made love to each other until the other was satisfied like never before. The two girls collapsed on the couch trying to catch their breath. Payton lay on her back with Kennedi’s head on her chest. Payton kissed her forehead and nose softly as Kennedi let out a laugh. Lightening lit the outside world and rain fell hard on the tin roof. The barn smelled of saw dust, leather and fresh mountain rain. The two laid there in silence taking in the moment. Payton rolled on her side, grabbed Kennedi’s gorgeous face and asked her “So, you wanna give this a shot. Ya know…like, be my lady?” A soft smile formed on Kennedi’s face. She kissed her and replied “I’m definitely interested.”
“That night was over twenty-five years ago and Payton’s “interest” turned in to forever.” My granddaughter was looking at me wild eyed and ready for more. “and those two girls … that was your grandma and I.”
I reached up and gently touch her cheek as I watched the news settle in. I sat there for a few moments nervously waiting for a reaction. I watched a smile emerge on Leighton’s face as the new information sunk in.
“Grandma is Kennedi and you are Payton???” she burst out.
Smiling from ear to ear and slowly nodding I answered my flabbergasted grandchild. A few hours earlier she came over to talk. She was ‘coming out’ of her own closet and I decided to tell her a little story.
Leighton was still shocked but curious “Oh my god. This is so crazy! How did you know she was the one, Gam-Gam?”
I thought of my sweet Mia and got lost for a minute.
“The first time I ever laid eyes on your grandma I took a shot in the gut. She hadn’t even spoken to me yet. The very first time we locked eyes my heart melted. She mesmerized me. Everything about her. Her laugh, her smile, and the way she nervously played with her hair. I could go on and on, child. No one had ever made me feel the way she did”
I wrapped Leighton up in a hug and gave her a kiss on the head. I told her of my fears in my own ‘coming out’ and how eventually my family and friends came around to accept me.
The two heard Grandma Mia yelling it was dinner time and headed to the house. Leaving that old barn with yet another memory. Leighton and her Gam-Gam walked back to the house hand in hand.
Leighton ran up the porch steps and hugged her grandma Mia like never before. Upon ‘coming out’ to her she asked Mia how coming out was for her.
Mia hugged her eldest grand-daughter and said “It was the scariest thing I’d ever done in my life. For me and my children. I had to follow my heart though. Always remember this “if you can’t conquer what you’re not willing to confront, you miss out on all the chances you didn’t take’. “ I grabbed My Mia and pulled her in close before joining our family for Christmas dinner.