by Adriana Westbrook
The Grass Isn’t Greener
Peyton Raymond was raised in Seymour, a small town in Indiana. Peyton was on the cheerleading team and involved in many clubs and other extracurricular activities at her old school. Her father, Brayden, was a businessman for a local lumber industry, her mother, Tiffany, was a registered nurse for the local hospital, and her brother, Carson, was a senior and the captain of the football team and was a varsity soccer player. Peyton was fifteen and had always lived in Seymour, until her father had to move because of his new job. Peyton’s friends had thrown her a surprise going away party and made her promise they would all stay in touch. The day of the move, Peyton was crying and saying her final goodbyes to her friends. She got into her father’s car and her mother and brother followed behind them all the way to their new home, Charleston South Carolina. Peyton was nervous to travel to her new home as she had never traveled anywhere else in her life, she had always stayed in Indiana. When Peyton got to her new home she walked upstairs and into her new room. The walls were a light grey and she had her first window-seat. Peyton started unpacking and getting the new sheets on her bed when her mother came into her room, “do you want to got to PetsMart and look for a new puppy?” her mother offered her. After they adopted the puppy they were on their way back to the house when they rode by Peyton’s new school. “Riverwood High School”, a big maroon sign read. Peyton was feeling emotions she had never felt before, some were good like hope, and others were tense and scared.
Peyton got home and was getting ready for her first day of freshman year. She picked out an outfit and laid it on her vanity chair. She sure missed her friends from back home. 7:00 AM flashed on her alarm clock. It was time to wake up and get ready for school. She hopped in the shower and got dressed and did her makeup and hair, her mother was downstairs and she had just made breakfast. Peyton got into the car with her mom as she drove to her new school. Peytons mom handed her, her lunch and kissed her goodbye. Peyton was very optimistic that when she got into her new school the kids would be nice to her. When Peyton stepped into school she saw so many people, this school was so much bigger than her middle school. Peyton saw her older brother as he talked to some of the soccer guys at Riverwood, one guy caught attention of Peyton, his name was Sam and he too had just moved to Charleston with his dad. He was a sophomore and was on the varsity soccer team and he thought Peyton was very pretty. Sam was ten feet away from saying hello to Peyton when out of nowhere a girl cut him off. “Suzanne..” Sam muttered under his breath. “And how may I help you Sam” Suzanne replied with a cruel look on her face. Sam gave Peyton a sympathetic look and went back to talk to the rest of the soccer team. “He looks nice but let me assure you, high school boys are nothing but clueless douchebags who try to flirt with anything that has an ass” Suzanne said with a grin, “you need yourself a college boy – what’s your name by the way?” Peyton mumbled her name under her breath because she was so nervous, never had the cool kids at school noticed her. “What was that sweetie?” Suzanne snarked. Peyton said her name with more confidence and Suzanne looked shocked that someone had smarted their mouth off to her. “Well Peyton, if you want you can sit with me and the girls at lunch today. Unless your mommy told you that you had to eat with your big brother” Suzanne and the rest of the girls laughed. Peyton was used to being able to approach anyone at her old school without fear. Her cheeks turned red and she hurried to class. When lunch time arrived Peyton came into the cafeteria and spotted the girls she had met earlier that day. Peyton sat down and took a PB&J out of her lunchbox and started to pray before she ate. “Oh my god she’s one of those girls” the girls snarked. Peyton felt embarrassed that she couldn’t even pray without people giving her weird looks. Suzanne sat down at the table with a salad from Chick Fil A and a Starbucks coffee. “So, who wants to come to a party with me Friday night?” Suzanne asked the girls, “me, me, me!!” the girls screamed with enthusiasm. Peyton asked whose birthday it was and got confused looks, “it’s not a birthday party you backwoods hillbilly, it’s Parker Andres party” one of the girls said. Peyton soon got informed that Parker Andres was in fact the captain of the football and baseball team, that he was homecoming king, he drove a 2016 Mustang GT, AND he threw the best parities in the small town of Charleston. “Are you in or not?” Suzanne asked with sudden impatience. Peyton agreed to it but had to make up an excuse so her parents wouldn’t suspect anything. The bell to dismiss lunch rang, and when the rest of the girls left with a quick turn of the heel one girl stayed and helped Peyton clean up her lunch and walked with her back to class. “So, you’re new around here” the girl asked, Peyton informed her of where she was from and what she had done at her old school. “Don’t tell Suzanne you used to be a cheerleader, she’s the captain of the cheer team and will make your life a living hell if you speak one word about being a cheerleader” the girl warned. “If you want maybe I can run by your place Friday night and help you get ready since this is your very first party” the girl offered with a wink. Peyton accepted her offer and told her that she would meet her in the parking lot after school friday so that the girl would take her back to Peyton’s house.
Friday afternoon approached and right as Peyton was doing a lab in chemistry she got a text from a number she had never seen, “we’re still meeting after school right?” Peyton texted back asking who the number was and got a short five line text back “Jessica, the girl from lunch!” Peyton could now put a name to a face. The bell rung and Peyton gathered all of her things up and went to the parking lot, Jessica, who drove a big red shiny Audi, honked and shouted “come on dork”. Peyton hopped in the car and told Jessica how to get back to her house, once they got inside Peyton informed her mom that Jessica and her were going to go to the mall and back to Jessica’s for the night. “You have some cute ass clothes for a girl who wears jeans and a tee shirt every day” Jessica said giggling. Peyton was shy and never liked to wear the clothes that her mother had gotten her, they were all short shorts and crop tops. Jessica picked Peyton out an outfit and started away on her hair and makeup, “wow you have really long hair and gorgeous skin, it’s a shame you never wear it down to school or put a little mascara on before you leave” Jessica said shockingly. Peyton hated her mother for getting her a whole new wardrobe and makeup, she just wanted to wear her glasses and put her hair in a bun, it was cute and simple. “Look girl, take one of these and by the time you get to the party you’ll be so relaxed you could talk to anyone” Jessica said as she handed Peyton a small blue pill. Peyton asked what it was and before she could finish her sentence Jessica told her it was just an aspirin. Peyton was always so gullible and believed anything anyone told her. Jessica had put the final touches on Peyton and before she could turn around and look into the mirror Jessica dragged Peyton through the house and into the car. Peyton felt so alive as Jessica raced through traffic, the wind blowing in her face only made the car ride more enjoyable. It was 10:00 PM when they arrived at Parker’s house and just as the rumors were told, a shiny black Mustang was sitting in the driveway. The music playing was so loud you couldn’t hear a single word anyone was saying. “Here, eat these” Jessica handed Peyton four small containers of what looked like Jello. Peyton, without question, swallowed all four of the small containers and looked at Jessica with wild eyes. “I think Parker is staring at you” Jessica said with a wink. Peyton looked over and sure enough Parker was staring at her with big, blue intense eyes. Parker started to walk over and Jessica gave Peyton a wink and started dancing with the guys next to her. “May I offer you a drink?” Parker asked. Peyton accepted and Parker came back with three glasses of dark brown fluid. Peyton was instructed to lean back and down each of the glasses, and that even though it might burn, in the end it tastes good. Parker offered to take Peyton downstairs to his room so they might enjoy a little alone time, “sorry about the mess, my parents are renovating, my room is to the left” Parker said hurriedly. When Peyton stepped into the room, Parker pushed her up against the wall with a strong force and tried to kiss Peyton. Peyton slapped Parker and explained that she had never kissed anyone and that she didn’t want to any time soon. “You bitch” Parker yelled as he rubbed his cheek. Peyton said she wanted to go home and got her phone out to call Jessica. “Oh no you don’t” Parker screamed and hit Peyton over the head with a lamp that was sitting beside them. When Peyton woke up she could still hear the music in the background. How long had she been asleep? Were her clothes torn? What was that rotten smell? All of these thoughts flooded her head as she came back into consciousness.
Peyton looked around and saw dirty clothes, old food boxes, bugs and dried blood on the walls. Peyton tried to move but she couldn’t because of the leather straps on her arms. She knew she was in a basement and that she was on a mattress, Peyton tried yelling but it was no hope. Peyton saw her phone and tried to reach it but it was so far away, she knew what would happen to her if she stayed in the basement so she tried to yell again. Still nothing. Peyton kept trying to reach her phone and knew what she had to do, she slammed her hand down on the concrete until she heard a loud snap. She screamed in agony as the blood came pouring from her hand. Peyton slid her hand out of the leather strap and saw a text on her phone from Sam, “why didn’t you tell me you were going to a party?” it read. Peyton called Sam and he didn’t answer, she prayed to god and called again, this time he answered. “Peyton what do you need i’m with Jade” Sam said hoping she would get jealous of his harmless tutoring date. Peyton explained what had happened and Sam said he was on his way. Sam got to the house and punched Parker in the face, enough to knock him out for 20 minutes. Sam raced downstairs and saw a small door with a dim light, he busted into the room and there was Peyton, passed out half naked on a dirty mattress with a bloody arm. Sam took Peyton into his arms and left Parker’s house, on his way to the hospital he called the police and explained what had happened. When Peyton woke up Sam was asleep next to her in a chair and she felt dizzy, she called out for Sam and he jolted awake. “Peyton what is it?” He said frantically. Peyton gave him a kiss on the cheek and thanked him for what he had done for her, she offered for him to come back to her house with her when she got released out of the hospital. Sam then realized he had finally done it, gotten the girl of his dreams.
Jeffersonville High School, 2016