"Peyton," I heard someone say, snappily, out my window. It was barely audible, but that could have been due to my flustered state, being that it was five AM. "Peyton!" it whispered again, this time a pinch louder. "Pey—," I heard again, but I silenced the speaker.
"What?" I asked, my voice cutting through the freezing cold air like a knife. I stood on my balcony in my pajamas alone, which were not meant for outdoor wear. Even though it was early summer, the sun wasn't out yet, and it was absolutely freezing. I looked down at the speaker, who had been, apparently, rendered speechless by my severity. I sighed, again asking, "What, Macy?"
"Oh. Hi," she said, stepping out from behind a tree. "I was just going for a run, and I didn't know if you would want to come out and join me." She paused, standing there, and as my eyes were now adjusting to the dark, I could see that she was shuffling, playing with her hands. "That's obviously not the case, though," she muttered, looking up at me and standing still.
"You think?" I asked her, raising an eyebrow even though I knew she couldn't see me well enough to notice.
"Just a hunch," she said, laughing. "And I thought you were a morning person."
"It's not morning yet," I muttered. "Morning starts at ten."
"Of course it does," she said, and I could sense an eye roll following that statement. "So are you coming?" she asked me, her cheer strongly contrasting my burning desire to climb back into bed.
"Talk to me in five hours," I told her, walking back into my room. I could hear her feet softly padding down the block, the sound fading and fading, and then stopping altogether. Macy was a true-to-heart morning person, up at dawn and ready to face the world. Personally, I needed about an hour to entirely get out the nasty morning gunk from my mouth and to emerge from my sleeping splendor into a normal, functioning human being, more often than not, with the assistance of something caffeinated.
Lying in bed with my eyes shut proved to be as far deep as I could reemerge myself into the wonderful world of slumber. Thirty minutes later, feeling hopeless that sleep would never find me again, I got up out of bed and walked back out onto my balcony. The world was asleep, literally, and as the sun began rising, I could make out the outlines of the houses around me. I had never truly witnessed a sunrise in real time, and it surprised me how gorgeous it was. I heard her before I saw her, and when Macy reappeared at my house two hours later, she seemed stunned to see me awake and alert.
"Hey," she said slowly, as if she was worried I might snap at her again.
"Hey," I replied. "How was your run?"
"Great," she said. She paused, then asked, "Why are you up?"
"I don't know if you recall, but some girl named Macy came and woke me up early this morning, asking about a run or something," I told her, and she shook her head, which I could now see in full daylight.
"I did not wake you up. You could have gone back to bed." She crossed her arms over her chest, rolling her eyes up at me.
"I tried. Believe me."
"So guess what I discovered?" Macy said to me, grinning.
"What?" I asked her, curious.
"Do you remember the Franks?" she asked me, and I searched my mind's archives, nodding slowly.
"Sure," I replied. "Why?"
"Here, let me come up to tell you. I don't want to wake the rest of the neighborhood."
"Oh, that's so considerate, coming from the girl responsible for my rising."
"Shut up and let me in," she said, laughing.
Twos minutes later, we sat in my room on my bed, as she explained her findings. "Apparently the Franks have a grandkid. Or a nephew. A son, maybe. I don't know. How old do you think they are?"
"The Franks? Fifty," I guessed. "Sixty, at most."
"Okay, so I'm betting nephew. Maybe long-lost son, who they abandoned in the desert who has finally discovered their home and came to find them, seeking revenge," she mused, thinking this over.
"Why the hell would they abandon someone in the desert? They're way too nice to do that," I told her, disproving her theory.
"Damn, you're right. Okay, where do you think he came from?" she asked me, and I raised an eyebrow.
"Macy, what the hell are you talking about?"
"Oh, right. Long story short, there's a kid that came out of the Frank's house. Very good looking. Sixteen, maybe seventeen. Very good looking," she repeated, as if I hadn't heard her the first time.
"So," I said slowly, trying to process what she had just told me. "So, all you know is that there's a kid. You don't know how he got there."
"I have theories," she countered. I shot her a look, and then she said, "No, I don't know how he got there."
"How exactly did you discover him? You were out in the wee hours of the morning."
"Well, I'm so glad you asked," she said, grinning. "He, like myself, appears to be a morning person. He was out running when I was. He was very good looking, my God."
"Did you ask why he was there?"
"And I was too busy staring at his abs to inquire why exactly he was there," she said, still smiling at the image in her head. "So, sorry that I'm human and prone to human-like qualities. Like drooling."
"You astound me," I said, rolling my eyes at her.
"Yes, well, I have a tendency to astound people."
"Is that so?" I asked her.
"Oh yeah," she said, nodding. "So, anyways, Cute Boy needs a friend, don't you think?"
"Yes, I do, Macy," I said, hoping she would get the message that, unlike her, I was totally uninterested.
"You're incredibly cynical and unsupportive. Why are we friends again?"
"So you have someone to vent to, who will not judge and will not commit you into an insane asylum?"
"Ah, yes, I forgot." She smiled, rolling her eyes at me. "Look, my mom wants me to come help her out at the store. I'll see you later, okay?"
"Alright Macy," I said to her, walking her out of my room downstairs, where we found my brother, Adam, sitting at the table, curled over a novel.
"Hey Macy," he said, neglecting to notice his very own flesh and blood, too captivated by Macy's flame red hair, trailing behind her, and of course Macy herself.
"Hey," she said back to him, sitting down at the table. "What's going on?"
"Nothing special," he said, and I rolled my eyes at his poor attempt at disguising his infatuation. "What about for you?"
"Nothing special," she mocked, smiling. She looked down at her watch, and hopped out of the chair. "Got to run. I'll see you guys later."
"Bye Macy," Adam said, his eyes trailing her as she jogged off down the block.
"You are pathetic," I said, smiling at him.
He looked up at me, ready to counter this, and then sighed. "You're right," he agreed. He'd always had a thing for Macy, ever since I brought her over five years ago when we were in the sixth grade, and Adam was in the seventh. It was pretty obvious to the world, but Macy seemed unaware, living off in the bubble that was her world, oblivious to any of the many signals he sent her way. "So, why are you up?" he asked me, only now connecting my upright position with the time, no longer distracted by my stunning best friend.
"Macy," I said, as if this explained everything. He raised an eyebrow, so I added, "She was running this morning, and wanted me to join her."
"Oh," he said, nodding back into his book. I rolled my eyes at him, pouring myself a bowl of cereal and sitting there in silence with my brother.