The Secret Life of Missy Alexander

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It's a story about a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother. She keeps to herself and writes short stories.

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The Secret Life of Missy Alexander

There once was a girl. Her name is Melissa but her family called Missy. She is eight years old. She is an only child. Her father passed away before she was born. She lived with her mother, Wendy, and her grandmother, Rosanna in a town of Savannah, Georgia. Missy mainly just kept to herself. She remains invisible to her classmates and writes in her private journal. One day, her mother asked her why she doesn’t try to make friends. All she could say is “I’m not sure if they want me to be their friend.” She does things on a simple routine. First, she wakes up from her bed. Second, she goes into the bathroom and looks in the mirror. Third, she washed up, put on her yellow dress and low cut brown boots. Before heading downstairs, she grabs her backpack and journal. “Missy! Time for breakfast,” Rosanna said. “Coming, Grandma,” she said back. Then she left her room and shut the door.

Once Missy got to the kitchen, Wendy was placing the plates on the table while Rosanna served them some grits, bacon, eggs, and sausages. “Hurry up, baby! We have to say grace,” she said to her daughter. “Okay, Mom,” Missy said, sitting down at the table. The three of them bow their heads as the breakfast and pitcher of orange juice sat in front of them. Afterwards, they started to eat. Moments later, Wendy and Missy head out the door. “Bye, Mom…we’ll see you later,” Wendy said to Rosanna. “Bye, baby girl…Missy, why don’t you try to make some friends today for your grandma, huh,” Rosanna said. “I’ll try, Grandma…bye,” Missy said back. She kisses Rosanna on the cheek and got into the car with Wendy. The only reason that Rosanna refers to Wendy as her baby girl because she is the youngest of her five children. She and her husband of 50 years, Milton, had three boys and two girls. The oldest, Milton Jr., went to join the Army and was never seen again. The twins, Jerry and Richard, are overseas in the Navy. They seldom visit their mother since their father’s passing. The daughter, Mindy, is also deceased. She had a bout of pneumonia at the tender age of sixteen but she never recovered from it. Wendy is the only one living at home with her mother. Since her husband was killed during a gas station holdup, Rosanna took her pregnant daughter in and now helping her raise Missy. Wendy now works in a motel a few blocks from her childhood home. She is a receptionist there. She also works at a diner at night to help her mother with the bills. Rosanna is a disabled woman. She was working at a diner to take care of her five children but had to retire because of her arthritis. She spends some time with her neighbors at the ripe old age of 65. She’s very active within her community. She helps out anyone no matter how good or bad. Missy sees how happy this makes her grandmother when she does nice things for their neighborhood. “Okay, kiddo…remember what your grandmother said: make some friends,” Wendy said. “Uh-huh,” Missy said. Then they buckled up their seatbelts and drove away.

Forty-five minutes later, Wendy pulled up to the elementary school. “Have a nice day,” she said. “Okay, Mom…you, too,” Missy said back. They did their secret handshake and went their separate ways. Missy went into the building as Wendy drove off to work. As Missy was heading for the cafeteria, she bumped into some older girls at the door and fell down. “Hey! Watch it, spaz,” one of them said. “I’m sorry…didn’t see you there,” she said, getting off the floor. “You better be sorry…next time you won’t be so lucky,” the girl said to her. “Forget about that kid…she’s not worth it,” the second girl said to her friend. “Yeah,” said the third girl. “Yeah! You right,” said the girl. They walked away as Missy goes inside. She grabs her usual table in the corner and sat down. She put out her journal and started to write. While the other kids were talking and carrying on, she was deep in her thought. “Once upon a time there was a girl who lives in a big castle…,” she thought. As she writes in her journal, a magical land opens up to her. The chatters of her classmates fades away as she saw the very same castle that she was writing about. She had on a pink dress with a white trim and black shoes. She also has a crown on her head like a princess. The people were very nice to her. They even brought her nice things like jewels, gold coins, and even a horse for her to ride on. While she was in her dream castle, Missy had two friends: a toad named Lenny and a grasshopper named Harold. “Hello, friends,” she said to them. “Good morning, Princess Missy…how are you,” said Lenny and Harold. “I’m good…how are you, Lenny and Harold,” she asked them. “Fine, malady…the wife and I had over a thousand tadpoles this week,” Lenny said, tipping his hat. “I’ve just finished storing my food for the next winter, malady,” Harold said, bowing to her. Then she smiles to her only two friends in the kingdom.

Suddenly, Missy was interrupted by the school bell. She put her journal in the backpack and hurried to her class. As the teacher was discussing his lesson plans, Missy started to daydream back to her magical kingdom. She was riding her horse as Lenny and Harold hopped along the side. “So, malady…what’s on the agenda for today,” they asked her. “Well…I think about hiking up to Cloud Mountain and overlook the whole land,” she told them. “It’s an excellent idea, malady,” Harold said. The three of them head up to the mountain. Once they were there, they could see the whole kingdom below them. “Wow…it’s beautiful,” Lenny said to his friends. “It sure is…I can see the castle from here,” Missy said. Suddenly, a second voice emerges. “Excuse me…Missy, pay attention,” she heard someone say. She snapped out of it and saw the teacher standing in front of her. “Yes, Mr. Sims,” she said. The other children started to laugh. “I want to see you after class…as for the rest of you, be quiet,” Mr. Sims said as he whacked his ruler on the desk. Then she bow her head in shame.

Once the class was over, Mr. Sims walked over to Missy and sat down in the desk in front of her. “We need to have a talk,” he said. “Yeah,” she said softly. “Now I know you’re a bright student and don’t cause any trouble but you need to start paying attention to what is going on in class…no more daydreaming, okay,” he said. “Yes, Mr. Sims,” she said, “May I go now?” “Of course,” he said. Missy got up quickly and went out the door. Hours later, she was eating her lunch and writing in her notebook again. One of the kids snuck up on Missy and grabbed her backpack. “Hey…give that back,” she said. “Make me,” the kid said. “Awww…come on, Bruce…give me back my backpack,” she whined. As the two of them fought for the backpack, the second kid grabbed her notebook and said, “What’s this? A toad named Lenny and a grasshopper named Harold? You think you’re a princess? What a laugh?” “No! That’s private, Jace! Give me my notebook,” she said. “You gotta take your pick? The backpack or the notebook,” Jace said. Before this went too far, Mr. Sims shows up and took the notebook from Jace. “All right, guys! Knock it off! Give Missy back her backpack…NOW,” he told the boys. “Yes, sir,” they said. Bruce did what he was told. Then the boys walked away.

“Are you okay,” Mr. Sims asked. “Yeah…I’m fine,” Missy said softly. “Are you sure,” he asked. “Uh-huh,” she answered. “You know you can’t let those boys get away with this,” he said. “I know…just don’t know what to do about it,” she said. “Come here and sit down,” he said. The two of them went over to one of the table and sat down. “For starters, you need to stand for yourself and don’t let these kids push you around, okay,” he said. “Okay,” she said. “I see that you love to write your little stories…this looks pretty good…have you ever tried signing for a writing class,” he asked. “Nope,” she replied. “They have classes in creative writing here every Wednesday after school…maybe you should check it out,” he said. “I’ll have to think about it,” she said. “You do that…remember what I said about those kids,” he said. “Okay…thanks, Mr. Sims,” she said. Then he smiled and got up from the table.

Missy thought about what Mr. Sims just told her. Two days later, she mustered up the courage to attend the creative writing class. Once she was inside, Missy saw a whole lot of other people there both young and old. She found an empty seat and sat down. Next to her was a boy just about her age. He was working on a play that he has written. “Hello…I like what you’re writing there…what’s it about,” she said to him. “Oh…I’m just putting my ideas together for this…it’s not finished yet,” the boy said. “Okay…my name is Missy and you are,” she said. “Roman Masterson, Jr…welcome to class…I’ve never seen you here before, Missy,” he said. “Um…it’s my first day…my teacher told me about it…Mr. Sims,” she said. “I know him…he’s my uncle…practically sign me up for this, too…guess to make new friends…most of these people are kinda old but I’m glad you’re here…I won’t be the only kid in this room,” Roman Jr. said. The two of them giggled. “Well…nice to meet you, Roman Jr.,” she said. By the end of class, they became good friends. Each week, they went to the library and worked on their short stories. Missy wrote the words while Roman Jr. drew the characters. They even eat lunch together. When she goes home, her mother and grandmother sees a sudden change in her. “Hi, honey…good to see you happy for once…had a good time with your little friend, Roman Jr,” Rosanna asked her granddaughter. “Yes…you were right, Grandma…it’s good to make friends…Roman and I have a lot in common…we write stories…like the same books…even act out this play that he just finished writing…it’s so cool,” Missy said. “Good for you, baby,” Wendy said, hugging her daughter. Then they watched Missy as she heads upstairs to her room.

The next day, Missy and Roman Jr. were in the cafeteria eating lunch when Mr. Sims showed up. “Hey, kids,” he said to them. “Hi, Uncle Bennard,” Roman Jr. said back. “Your name is Bennard, Mr. Sims,” Missy said. “My grandmother gave me that name…it’s embarrassing…don’t go around telling people that,” he said. “Don’t worry…it’ll be our little secret,” she said, giggling to the name. “Well, it’s good to see you smiling again,” he said. “I took your advice, Mr. Sims…now Jace and his friends doesn’t pick on me anymore,” she said to him. “Good for you…I’ll see you kids later,” he said. “Bye, Bennard,” Missy and Roman Jr. said loudly. “Hey,” he said. The kids giggled even harder. “So…what are you gonna write about this time,” Missy asked. “I don’t know…I’ve been writing for a long time…came up with these ideas…now it’s a blank,” Roman Jr. said. “Don’t worry, Roman Jr…we’ll think of something,” she said. As the hours goes by, the children were breezing by their classes up until the time for them to go home. “So…writing class tonight, right,” Roman Jr. said. “Right…see you there,” Missy said back. They went their separate ways. “So, Missy…is that your little boyfriend,” Jace said to her. “No…he’s my writing partner…don’t you have something better to do than bothering me,” she said, then walked away. His friends started gawking and laughing. “Seems like the geek told you like it is, buddy,” Bruce said. “We’ll see about that…just find the right thing to embarrass her,” he said back. Then the boys went off in the other direction.

Later that evening, Missy was in the writing class waiting for Roman Jr. He normally comes through the door and said something in Latin to her. She giggled at his little comments and starts working on her stories. While she was waiting, she opened up her notebook and continues writing her story about the princess. Suddenly, Roman Jr. came in and sat down quietly. He was wiping some blood off his face with a napkin. “Roman Jr.? What happened,” she asked him. “Oh! Some kids beat me up but I’m fine! This is the way things happens in my neighborhood! No one likes a kid who wants to express themselves,” Roman Jr. said. “I know the feeling! There were times that I was being bullied, too,” she said. “Maybe I should listen to my dad and learn how to fight…he wants me to take a karate class to defend myself,” he said. “That might be a good idea! I’ll do it if you will,” she said. That comment made Roman Jr. smile. He’s finally made a friend who he has so much in common with. “Karate classes? Are you sure, honey,” Wendy questioned her daughter. “Yeah! It said that karate builds confidence! I won’t have to use it unless it was necessary, Mom,” Missy said. “I don’t know…it seems risky, baby,” she said. “Please, Mom…you and Grandma said that I need friends…this is one way to do it,” Missy pleaded. “Well…all right…I don’t want to hear that you beat up some kid who’s harassing you…just tell your teacher or principal, you hear me,” she said. “Okay, Mom,” Missy said. Then she hugged her mother.

Wendy took her daughter over to the karate class where they meet up with Roman Jr. and his father. “Hi, Roman Jr.,” Missy said to her friend. “Hello,” Roman Jr. said back. “So this is the young lady that my son talks about…hello, Missy,” the man said, shaking her hand. “This is my dad,” he said. “You might have to excuse my boy here…I’m Roman Masterson Sr. and you are…,” the man introduces himself. “I’m Wendy, Missy’s mother,” Wendy introduced herself. “Well hello! Nice to meet you,” Roman Sr. said. “Nice to meet you, too,” Wendy said to him. The two of them sat down to talk as their kids head over to the mat for their first lesson. Hours later, the four of them went down the block for some ice cream. “What do you think is going on with those two,” Missy asked. “It seems like they have the hots for each other,” Roman Jr. replied. “It’s nice to meet you again…we have to go,” Wendy said to Roman Sr. “We should do this again real soon,” Roman Sr. said back. Wendy took her daughter’s hand and got into her car. Roman Sr. got into his truck with his son and drove away. Once they got home, Wendy and Rosanna went into the kitchen to talk about their day. Missy was fast asleep in her bedroom. The next day, Missy meet up with Roman Jr. at the park. They started to work their brand new play. As they were doing that, Jace and Bruce showed up. “Missy and Roman Jr. sitting in a tree…k-i-ss-i-n-g,” they joked. “Oh, knock it off, you guys,” Missy said to them. “What you gonna do, huh? Cry,” Jace said. “No,” she said. “Then what, huh,” he said. Before he could say another word, Roman walked up to Jace and kicked him in the shin. He and Missy ran off as Jace fell to the ground. “That was so cool,” she said. “I was getting sick and tired of his mouth anyways…since he and his friends started picking on me,” Roman Jr. said back. Then they went down the street laughing.

The two of them came across their favorite ice cream shop. They went inside and sat down at one of the tables. “Missy! I have a confession to make,” Roman finally said. “What,” she asked him. “It kinda like this…the fight that I had with Jace and Bruce…we were fighting about you…I blurted out that you were my girlfriend,” he said. “You what,” she said. “I didn’t mean to…I’m sorry,” he said softly. “So that’s what the teasing at the park was about…how could you,” she said. “They made me so mad…it just slipped out,” he said before Missy cut him off. “I thought you were my friend,” she cried. Before he could say another word, she got up and ran out. She kept running until she got home. She head upstairs and plopped down on her bed. Rosanna heard the commotion and went to her granddaughter’s bedroom. “Missy? Can I come in, honey,” she asked. “Yes, Grandma,” Missy said, wiping the tears from her eyes. Rosanna came in and sat down. “What’s wrong, hmm,” she said. “It was horrible…why do boys have to be so mean, Grandma,” Missy asked her. “Did you and Roman Jr. had a fight,” she questioned. “Uh-huh,” Missy replied. “Do you want to talk about it,” she said. “Uh-uh…it hurt too much,” Missy said with tears in her eyes. Rosanna hugged her granddaughter tight. Later that day, Wendy came home from work to find her mother sitting on the couch. She was reading her usual newspaper as Missy slept next to her. “Hi…what’s going on,” she asked. “The kids had a fight but she’ll tell you when she’s up to it,” Rosanna said. Then the two of them went into the kitchen, not knowing that Missy heard every word they said.

The next day, Missy came downstairs and sat down at the kitchen table. Rosanna and Wendy were cooking breakfast. “Hey there, honey! How are you feeling this morning,” Wendy asked her daughter. “Okay,” Missy sighed. “Is there something you want to talk about,” she said. “Not really, Mom,” Missy said to her. “Just to let you know…I’m here if you have anything on your mind, okay,” she said. “Uh-huh,” Missy said, grabbing for a piece of toast from the plate that her grandmother put on the table. Meanwhile, Roman Jr was moping around in the living room of his father’s house. “Hey, sport…what’s going on,” Roman Sr. asked him. “I think I said something to make Missy mad…I didn’t mean to,” he said. Back at the Alexanders house, Wendy heard the phone ring. She got up to answer it. Moments later, she and Missy meet up with the guys at the ice cream shop. “Hey, RJ,” she said. “Hello,” Roman Sr. said back. The four of them went inside and sat down at one of the booths. As the adults talked, Roman Jr. and Missy sat there quietly. “Oh, my god…that’s what happened,” Wendy said softly. “Yep…the little fella felt bad about it, you know,” Roman Sr. said. “Missy, come here,” Wendy said. She and her daughter walked over to the door to have a talk. “He embarrassed me, Mom…the kids picked on me about it,” Missy finally said. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that…you shouldn’t be ashamed of what he said…you understand,” she said. “Okay, Mom,” Missy said, then hugged Wendy. “Is everything okay over here,” Roman Sr. asked them. “I don’t know…is everything okay, honey,” she asked her daughter. “Yes,” Missy said happily. “How about a high-five,” he said. Then Missy did exactly that.

“I’m really sorry for what I said to Jace and Bruce the other day,” Roman Jr said. “No problem, Roman Jr…just don’t do it again,” Missy warned him. “Okay,” he said back. Their parents brought them two banana splits. Once they ate their ice cream, they got into the car and went to the park. As the kids run around to burn off their sugar high, their parents shared a kiss. “I think they’re in love,” Roman Jr. said. “I wish they could do it without kissing, though,” Missy said. “I agree,” he said. The two of them ran over to the monkey bars. Two days later, the kids continue hanging together. Wendy and Roman Sr. started to get even closer. As Missy and Roman Jr. work on their stories for their class, Jace and Bruce banged on the table. “Knock it off, you guys,” Missy said angrily. “What are you going to do about it, huh,” Bruce said. She balled up her fist and punched Bruce in the stomach. He went down like a ton of bricks. “Ooooh,” Roman Jr. chuckled. “What? You want a part of me, too,” she yelled. Jace shook his head, picked Bruce off the floor, and ran off quickly. “Easy there, tiger…I bet they won’t bother you anymore,” Roman Jr. said to his friend. He and Missy went the other direction, heading to their class. They run into Mr. Sims outside. “Oh! What’s going on, kids,” he asked them. “Oh, nothing…just that Jace and Bruce won’t be bothering us anymore,” Missy replied. Then they walked away as Mr. Sims stood there scratching his head.

Wendy was working at the diner when Roman Sr. showed up and sat at the counter. “Hello, beautiful…what’s the special,” he said. “Very funny…you do that every time you come in here…how are you doing,” she asked him. “I’m good…how about you,” he said. “I’m good too…how is everyone,” she said. “We’re good…I’ve explained to my son about his situation with your daughter…won’t happen again,” he said. “I wouldn’t worry too much…he was trying to protect Missy…I know he didn’t mean anything by it,” she said. “This is good…having a friend to talk to…sharing the same subject: being a single parent,” he said. “Of course…our kids are real close…I had a hard time getting Missy to make friends last year…with her father being dead, she is a very quiet kid,” she said. “Same goes for Roman Jr…I’ve raised him for three years all by myself since his mom died from cancer…I know the feeling,” he said. “Oh, I’m sorry! My husband was killed while putting gas in his car! I was pregnant with Missy at the time so she doesn’t know anything about him,” she said. “I’m guessing she doesn’t even ask you about it, huh,” he said. “No…she doesn’t,” she said. “Poor kid…guess she got the worst of it…I didn’t know my dad either…he committed suicide when I was four months old…I might understand where she’s coming from,” he said. Then the two of them continued their conversation.

“So…you told me about your mom and your grandma…what about your dad…where is he,” Roman Jr. asked his friend. “I don’t know…I’ve never ask my mom about it…I just assume that he ran off and left us,” Missy said. “I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t have my dad,” he said. “What about your mom,” she asked him. “She died from cancer—leukemia,” he said. “I’m sorry…how long ago was it,” she said. “Three years…I still miss her…you’re lucky to have your mom, though,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what I would be without her,” she said, hugging Roman Jr. Later that day, Missy was at the kitchen table swirling around her food on the plate. “Hey, honey…what’s wrong, hmm,” Wendy asked her daughter. “Roman Jr. was telling me about his mother…it was so sad…did you know that she died from leukemia,” she said. “Yeah…his dad and I were just talking about it a minute ago…pretty much why Roman Jr. keeps to himself all of the time,” Wendy said. “I’m lucky to have you and Grandma…I don’t ever want to lose you guys,” she said. “Don’t worry, kid…we’re not going anywhere,” Wendy said. “There’s something else that I wanted to talk about,” she said. “Oh? What do you want to talk about, sweetheart,” Wendy said. “My father…I don’t know anything about him,” she said. “You know what? I think it’s about time we talk about him! I wasn’t sure that you wanted to,” said Wendy. Then the two of them started talking.

Later that evening, Wendy and Roman Sr. took the kids to a pizza parlor. They all went in and sat down. “So…what do you want on your pizza, guys,” Roman Sr. asked them. “Mushrooms,” Roman Jr. said to his father. “Anything but that,” Wendy said, “What about you, Missy?” “Um…I can’t decide…they’re all so good,” Missy said back. “I’m sure there’s something that you like,” Roman Jr. said. “I’ve never eat pizza before, Mr. Masterson,” she said. “Well…it’s a good place to start…how about we get a pepperoni pizza just for the two of us…if you don’t like it, we’ll go someplace else,” he said. “Okay,” she said with a smile on her face. A few hours later, they were all eating single serve pizza. Wendy had the one with banana peppers on it. Roman Jr. had the one with the mushrooms. Roman Sr. and Missy both had pepperoni pizza. “This is good, right,” Roman Sr. said. Missy took a bite of her pizza and said, “Uh-huh!” “It’s not so bad, is it,” he asked her. “Uh-uh…not bad at all,” she said, taking another bite of the pizza. “I could just about guess what her food will be now,” Wendy said. Then they watched her eating the last bites of her pizza.

Moments later, the kids were playing games in the next room. Wendy and Roman Sr. were having a good conversation. “So you finally told her about her father, huh,” Roman Sr. asked her. “Yeah…I don’t think she would want to hear it but…she was very interested in what a good man Ben was,” Wendy said. “I’m sure he is…without him, you wouldn’t have a great kid like Missy here,” he said. “What about your wife? I’m sure she’s a great woman, too,” she said. “Of course…I got this great kid because of her…he has Alexandria’s eyes…I know that taking care of my boy puts a smile on her face,” he said. “I bet you missed her,” she said. “Yeah…she and Roman Jr. were very close when she was alive…he shut down when she died…even though he was unaware of what was going on or so I thought, he loves her to death,” he said. “At least, he knows his mother…I wish Ben could see what a beautiful daughter that we made together,” she said. “I’m sure he does…just by looking in her eyes,” he said. “She does have Ben’s eyes and quiet state…he doesn’t talk much either…but I got him out of it…I want that for my daughter, too,” she said. Missy and Roman Jr. walked up to them as they talked. “What do you do next,” they asked their parents. “We could go play some video games at the arcade,” Roman Sr. said to them. The kids started to squeal loudly. “Can we, Mom? Can we? Can we,” Missy pleaded. “Well…okay,” Wendy said to her daughter. Then Missy hugged her tight.

Roman Sr. took Wendy and the kids to the arcade a few blocks from the park. “Okay, you two…go ahead and buy some tokens on me,” he said. “Okay, Dad,” Roman said. “Thank you, Mr. Masterson,” Missy said before giving him a big hug. Wendy watched the two of them as they bond with each other. Moments later, she and Roman Sr. sat down at the counter for some alone time. “I’ve never thought she would warm up to anybody…I think she likes you,” she told him. “Yeah…I guess she does,” he said. The two of them held hands. The kids were playing a game at one of the machines. “I gotta go to the restroom…hold my space until I get back,” said Roman. “Okay,” Missy said. As he left the room, Roman Sr. went over to talk with her. “So…how’s everything with you guys, huh,” he asked. “Everything’s okay, sir,” she said while playing the game. “Your mom told me about your father,” he said. “Yeah…some guy killed him in a gas station holdup…how could someone do a thing like that,” she asked him. “I don’t know, kid…that’s the same question I wondered about my own dad,” he said. “Your dad died, too,” she questioned. “Yeah…he took his own life after I was born…I didn’t know much about him…I understand how you feel,” he said. “Sorry about your dad…that must’ve sound awful,” she said. “Yeah, it is…that’s why I’m trying to do right by my son…so he doesn’t have to go through what I did,” he said. “I know you are…Roman Jr. has a great man like you for his father,” she told Roman Sr. “Thanks,” he said back. Then they continued their conversation.

After they had their little talk, Roman Sr. went back to Wendy and sat down. “Looks like I see the two of you getting along so well,” Wendy said. “Yeah…we are,” Roman Jr. said back. Roman Jr. came up to them and cleared his throat. “What’s going on, my boy,” he said to his son. “Missy and I were talking about some things…we came up with the perfect solution…since I don’t know my mom too well and Missy doesn’t know her dad, I would share my dad with her and she could share her mom with me,” Roman said. “Wow…I never would’ve thought of that,” he said. “Well, you know what…I think that’s a great idea, Roman,” Wendy said. “Yeah…I agree, little man,” Roman Sr. said. Roman Jr. smiled and gave Wendy a hug. Hours later, the four of them drove home. Missy and Roman Jr. were fast asleep in the back seat. “Those kids of ours are very creative…since Roman doesn’t have his mom anymore, Missy decides to share you with him,” Roman Sr. said. “Let’s not forget that your son wants to share you with my daughter since she don’t have her dad,” Wendy said. “How about this? Why don’t we get married,” he asked. “Huh,” she said. “The kids are getting along good…Roman Jr. loves you a lot…and I’ve gotten really close with Missy…what else is there,” he said. “Do you think we could give it some time? We haven’t been together that long,” she said. “Daddy won’t mind…go for it,” Missy said with her eyes closed. “Please marry my dad…he would be nothing without you,” Roman Jr. said to Wendy. “You put them up to this,” Wendy asked him. “I love you, Wendy…I see how you raised such a good kid…I want to be a part of that…at least think about it,” he said. “My mother might have something to say about it,” she said. “Let’s go and see…I know your mother can’t be that bad,” he said. Then they put up in front of Rosanna’s house.

Roman Sr., Wendy, and Rosanna were all sitting quietly in the living room as the kids were having chocolate milk in the kitchen. “What do you think is happening in there,” Roman Jr. asked. “My mom used to tell me that any guy who gets with her has get through my grandma…she said that Grandma is a tough one,” Missy said. “Ohhh,” he said. “So you want to marry my daughter, huh? You know about her husband being killed at a gas station! I don’t want my child and grandchild to get hurt,” Rosanna said. “I know the situation, ma’am…I lost my wife to cancer so I know how it feels to lost someone that is important to me…I also understand what Missy is going through, too, because I was that kid who lost a father as well,” Roman Sr. said. “So sorry to hear that…your wife and your father must be very important to you and your son…what does this have to do with marrying my daughter,” she asked. “I have only one thing to say…I love your daughter and granddaughter very much…we want to ask your permission to get married if you let us, ma’am,” he said. Missy and Roman Jr. watched them from the kitchen. “Uh-oh…I don’t like that look,” Missy said. “Yes…you have my blessing…welcome to the family,” Rosanna said. “All right, kids…you can come out now,” Wendy said. Then the kids came out and hugged their parents.

Later that evening, Wendy tucked her daughter in her bed. “So…you don’t mind getting Roman Sr. as a dad,” she asked her. “Not at all…he’s cool,” Missy said. “I see that way, too,” she said back. The two of them hugged. “This might be exactly what you hope for, baby girl,” Rosanna said. “Thanks, Mom,” she said. Meanwhile, the two Romans were playing a game in the living room of their home. “Say, Dad…I think it’s a good idea that you wanna marry Wendy,” Roman Jr. said. “Really? You think so,” Roman Sr. said. “Uh-huh…she’s really nice…like Mom…good night,” he said before heading upstairs. “Yeah…like your mom,” Roman Sr. said to himself. Two days later, Wendy and Roman Sr. were married. Rosanna gave her daughter away. Missy was the flower girl while Roman was the ring bearer. They had a small ceremony since they didn’t have much family in town. As the newlyweds went on their honeymoon, the kids spent the week with Rosanna. The three of them were playing a game of gin rummy. “Your turn, Grandma,” Missy said. Rosanna clenched her chest and immediately passed out. Wendy and Roman Sr. were spending a quiet evening in their hotel room when they got a phone call. “Hello! Mr. and Mrs. Masterson’s room! Wait—what,” she said. In a matter of hours, the two of them made it back to town to hear that Rosanna was in the hospital. She had a tube in her mouth and strapped to a ventilator. “Oh, my god…Mom,” Wendy said as she sat down by her mother’s bedside. Roman Sr. stayed out in the waiting room with the kids. “Is Grandma going to die,” Missy asked him. “We mustn’t think that…not until we know for sure, okay,” he said, hugging his stepdaughter. “I can’t lose her, Dad…I just can’t,” she whispered in his ear. Hours later, Wendy joined the rest of her family. “Are you okay, baby,” he asked her. “Yeah…I’m okay…oh, Rome—I can’t lose my mom,” Wendy cried on his shoulder. “I don’t want to lose her either…I see how close you two are…I don’t want to see you get hurt,” he said. Then the doctor came out to talk with them.

A week later, the whole neighborhood went to the church for Rosanna’s funeral. Roman Sr. held his grieving wife, his son, and his stepdaughter. Her brothers, Milton Jr., Jerry and Richard showed up to pay respect to their dead mother. The three boys hugged their baby sister and niece. “Sorry I wasn’t there for Mom while she was here but if you need anything, we’ll be here,” Milton Jr. said. “Thank you,” Wendy said back. Even though she hasn’t seen her brothers in years, Wendy was very happy to see them. “Hey, man…my mom told us some great things about you…thanks for watching out for my baby sister and her daughter…no one has done that since Missy’s dad…I guess I should congratulate you guys on your marriage…sorry we’re meeting on these terms but I hope we could get to know each other a little better in the future…brother-in-law,” he said, extending his hand. “Of course…I’d like that…we’re family now,” Roman Sr. said. The two men shook hands, then hugged. A few days later, Wendy, Missy, the two Romans, and her brothers were packing up all of their late mother’s things for storage. They came across an old picture of their family when they were younger. “Hey, guys…what’s going on,” Roman Sr. asked them. “It’s a picture of our family when we were younger…this is our dad and our sister…they’re dead now and my mom is with them,” Wendy said, holding back her tears. “I know, little sister…we missed them, too,” Milton Jr. said to her. “I didn’t know much about Aunt Mindy…just by the stories my grandma told me,” Missy said to Roman. “You know what? You remind me of your aunt when she was a kid! She was quiet and shy just like you was,” Jerry said to his niece. “Really,” she questioned. “Yeah, kid…just like her,” Richard agreed. Then she gave her uncle a hug.

Roman Jr. and Missy went outside to play while everyone cleaned up Rosanna’s room. “Isn’t everything gonna okay again,” she asked her stepbrother. “Of course it will...cuz we have each other,” Roman Jr. said back. Eight years later, the kids started high school. “All right, you guys...have a good day...and RJ, stay out of trouble,” Wendy said. “Yes, Mom,” Roman Jr. said back. “Don’t worry...I’ll keep an eye on him, Mom,” Missy said. “Hey...don’t I get a kiss...a hug,” Roman Sr. said to the kids. “Dad,” she said, then kisses Roman Sr. on the cheek. Roman Jr. gave him a high-five and followed Missy outside. The two of them went down the block and got on the bus. Their parents waved to them as the bus drove away. “You think our son would keep his promise,” Wendy asked her husband. The two of them turned to each other and said, “Nah!” “Okay, fellas...the name of the game is five card Monty...the object of the game is to keep an eye on the lovely lady,” Roman Jr. said to his friends. “I don’t think it’s a good idea, RJ...the driver said no more illegal card games on the’re gonna get in trouble again,” Missy said. “You need to relax, sis...nothing can go wrong,” Roman Jr. said. “It’s a man’s worry too much, girl,” one of the boys said, touching her cheek. “If it makes you feel any better, be the lookout...just whistle when the bus driver comes down the aisle, all right,” Roman Jr. said. As the boys played their game, Missy sat down and started to write in her notebook. “Ey! You better not be playing any illegal games back there,” the bus driver said to the kids. “No, sir,” Roman Jr. said, “Just playing a little go fish, Mr. Bradley!” He and the boys were shuffling the cards as the bus was moving. Suddenly, they heard a thump. Missy looked up to see Mr. Bradley getting up from his seat. As he was heading down the aisle, she let out a screeching whistle. The boys scrambled to put the playing cards away just before Mr. Bradley came up on them.

Wendy and Roman Sr. were in the living room making out when they heard a knock on the door. “Oh, shoot...Mrs. Jennings was suppose to be coming over today...I forgot that it was today,” she said, then left the room. Suddenly, Roman Sr. got a phone call. “Hello,” he answered. Hours later, Missy was in the cafeteria with her friends. “Girl, answer me this do I get with that fine brother of yours,” one of them asked her. “Jessica, really? You can’t be serious,” Missy said. “Yeah...he’s hot,” said Jessica. “Ew! I don’t wanna hear this,” she told her misguided friend. “If you hook me up with him, I’ll do anything for you honest,” Jessica said. As the girls talked, Roman Jr. came over to join them. “Hey, y’all...can you tell Mom and Dad that I’ll be a little late getting home, sis...the coach called an emergency practice at the last could you, please,” he said. “I think you’re doing this to torment me but...I’ll let them know,” Missy said to her stepbrother. “Thanks,’re the best,” he said, then left the table. “Come on...hook us up, please,” Jessica said, imitating Roman Jr. Missy chuckled and shook her head. “Hey, RJ...wait up,” she said. “What’s up,” he asked her. “I have a favor to ask you,” she said to him. As they talked, the girls were waiting to see what happens next. “ sister said that you were asking for me,” Roman Jr. said as he approached them. “Uh-huh,” Jessica said. Missy and the other girls walked away so the two of them could have their privacy. “So... what are we looking at, hmm,” a voice said. The girls jumped. “Hi, Mr. Sims,” Missy said, recognizing the voice. “Hey there, stranger...give me a hug,” Mr. Sims said. She did just that. “What are you doing here,” she asked him. “Just checking on my two favorite is everything going, Miss Tenth Grader,” he said. “It’s good...just wish Mr. Johnson wasn’t piling some much homework on us though,” she said. “Don’t sweat it...I’m sure you can handle’re a very bright girl,” he said. “I hope so,” she said. “Just hang in there, okay,” he said. “Okay,” she said. “Good to see you ladies,” he said before walking away. “Bye, Mr. Sims,” the other two girls said to him. “It’s good to have two of your family members in this school...if you wanna get into college, you can ask your uncle to help you...if anyone bothers you, there’s Roman,” one of them said. “Lucy,” Missy said sternly. “You know she’s are so lucky, girl,” the second girl said. “I know, Stacey...but I rather do things on my own...just doesn’t feel right asking my uncle for favors,” she said. Then Lucy and Stacy shook their heads.

Later that evening, Missy was at the dinner table doing her homework when Roman Jr. comes through the front door. “Hey! Did you tell Mom and Dad about the practice,” he asked her. “Yeah...I did...they went out for a bit...there’s a pizza in the oven,” she replied. He went over to the oven and said, “Cool! Mushrooms!” “Eww...stay away from me with that,” she told him. “So...what are you up to, Miss Storyteller,” he said while eating his slice of pizza. “Just some Algebra homework...and you,” she said. “I’m just working on my game...your little friend seems to be impressed with that,” he said, “Well....I’ll just leave you to your Algebra and take my pizza onto the porch!” “Thank you,” she said without looking. Roman went over to the fridge, grabbed a bottle of root beer, and left the room. He went outside to meet up with Jessica. “No sweat, sister’s in there doing her homework so she won’t bother us one bit,” he said. “That’s good to hear...she’s real lucky to have a brother like you, Rome,” Jessica said. The two of them engage in a liplock. Missy got up from the table and went to the fridge for a orange soda when suddenly she heard a noise in the basement. Holding a can in her hand, she went to investigate the noise. She opened the door and saw something moving around on the floor. While Roman Jr. and Jessica were kissing, they heard a scream. They stopped and rushed in to see what was going on. Hours later, Wendy and Roman Sr. came home to see an ambulance in front of their home. Some of the neighbors were standing outside and wondering what was going on. “Oh, no...Missy...Rome,” she said as she got out of the car. Roman Sr. followed his wife across the yard and into the house. When they got inside, the EMTs were tending to Missy on the couch. “Oh, my god...what happened,” she asked them. “Your daughter had a little tumble down the stairs...nothing to worry about, ma’am,” one of the EMTs said to her. “I was on the front porch when it happened...she was passed out on the floor...I didn’t know what to do so I called 9-1-1...I’m so sorry, Mom,” Roman Jr. said. “Don’t blame RJ for this...I thought I heard something in the basement and missed a step,” Missy added. “Oh, my--thank God you were all right,” Wendy said to the kids, hugging them both. “It was lucky your son call us...this could gone a lot worse, ma’am,” said the second EMT. “Thanks, she gonna be okay,” Roman Sr. said. “Yeah...pretty much...make sure she get that bump on her head checked out in the morning...goodbye, sir,” the first EMT said. “Bump? What bump,” Wendy questioned. “I don’t know...must’ve gotten it when I hit my head on the step...,” Missy said just before she passed out again. “We better get her to the hospital...quick,” Roman Sr. said. Then he picked up his stepdaughter from the couch and took her to his car.

Hours later, Missy woke up to find herself in the hospital. The two Romans and Wendy were fast asleep on a couch across from her. “Mom...Dad...RJ,” she mumbled. They got up and rushed to her bedside. “Hey, are you feeling,” Roman Sr. asked her. “I’m okay, Dad...what happened,” she said. “You fell down the stairs and hit your head...what were you doing in the basement anyway,” Wendy asked her daughter. “I thought I heard something down there...went to check it out...that’s when I fell...I’m so sorry, Mom,” she said. “There’s nothing to be sorry long as you’re okay...both of you,” Wendy said to them. “I’m sorry, you guys...I should’ve been watching her...didn’t know she left the kitchen until I heard the screaming,” said Roman Jr. “Don’t worry about it, all right...from now on, neither one of you go near that basement again, you hear me...your grandmother would turn over in her grave if anything happen to you kids,” Roman Sr. said. “Sure, Dad,” said Missy and Roman. “Why don’t you go back to sleep, honey? If all checks out, you’ll be able to go home tomorrow,” Wendy said. Missy did what she was told. Two days later, Missy was at the kitchen table thinking about the accident in the basement. Once again, she heard the same noise as before. “Mom? I heard something in the basement,” she called out. Wendy and Roman Sr. came in to investigate the noise. “Stay put, you understand,” Roman Sr. said to his stepdaughter. Missy shook her head. He opened the door and flipped the switch next to the door. He and Wendy went downstairs slowly. “Dad,” Missy said from the kitchen table. “Stay upstairs, honey,” Wendy said. Roman Sr. made it downstairs and saw something whizzing past his head. “What the--,” he said. Missy got up from the table and peeked through the door of the basement. She saw two shadows coming back upstairs and screamed. “Honey? Calm down! It’s us,” she heard someone say. “Mom? Dad,” she said, recognizing Wendy’s voice. “Hey, kid...are you okay,” Roman Sr. said, coming into the kitchen. “Yeah...what was that noise,” she said. Roman Sr. had something flurry in his arms. “Here is the noise that you heard two nights ago,” he said. Missy slowly move closer to Roman Sr. and saw the flurry creature that he was holding. “It’s a cat,” she said softly. “How did it get into the house,” Wendy asked her husband. “Your mother did say that there was several holes next to the basement window...probably how it got in,” Roman Sr. replied. As the two of them talked, Missy picked up the cat and cradled it in her arms. “Be careful, honey...we don’t know how long it’s been here,” Wendy said. “I will...don’t be scared...we won’t hurt you,” she said as she grabbed a piece of bread off the counter. She broke it up and gave it to the cat. They were surprised by how fast the cat ate the bread. “ was hungry,” Wendy said. Then they watched Missy as she bond with the cat.

The next day, the kids played with their new pet as Wendy and Roman Sr. watched a movie on the television. “You know...we could get our own place with a backyard for the kids to play in,” Roman Sr. said. “Maybe...what are we going to do with this house,” Wendy asked him. “Your brother and I thought we could rent it out to one of your neighbors...,” he started to say. “ brothers can have it for a place to live...better than that hotel room that they’re staying in,” she said. “Might be a good idea,” he said. A month later, the whole family had their place. “So, do you like it,” Roman Sr. asked them. “It’s okay, Dad,” Roman Jr. said. “How about you, kiddo,” he asked his stepdaughter. “I don’t we really have to move out of Grandma’s house,” Missy said. “Oh...I know that moving to a new place is scary for you but we can always go back to isn’t too far from here, okay,” he said. “Okay, Dad,” she said, then hugged him tight. “Okay…let’s check this house, kids,” Wendy said. “Sure, Mom,” said Roman Jr. and Missy. They all went inside and got a big surprise. “So, little sister…how do you like the new house,” Jerry asked. “It’s good…a little more room than Mom’s house…the kids have their own bedroom instead of sharing one for the past eight years…it’s wonderful,” Wendy said to her brother. The two of them were at an ice cream shop down the street from the new house. “I say…Mom’s house is a little crowded…three bedrooms…the kids are always fighting for the bathroom…this could be good for them…they’re teenagers now,” Milton Jr. spoke up. Then they all shook their heads.

Back at the house, Missy started unpacking her things. She pulled out a picture of her grandmother from her bag. Suddenly, she started to reminisce about the last time she spend with Rosanna. “Hey, kiddo,” Roman Sr. spoke up. “Hey, Dad,” she said. “You miss your grandmother, huh,” he asked her. “Uh-huh,” she said. “I missed her, too…so sad to lose her so soon…eight years…I knew you guys were so close…I was the same way with my grandmother so you’re not alone,” he said, then hugs his stepdaughter. Roman Jr. was in his room putting his things away. He came across his mother’s picture and thought about his last time with her. “I know you’re watching over me and Dad…we’re okay now,” he said to himself. He grabbed a necklace that he was wearing and kissed it. Moments later, Wendy came back home. “Guys…we’re back,” she called out. The two Romans and Missy came down to greet her. “Hi, Mom,” said the kids. “Had a nice lunch with your brothers,” Roman Sr. asked his wife. “Yeah…it was good…how is everything here,” she asked her family. “It’s good…the kids and I already unpack everything…we’re just glad to get you,” he said. “I can see that, brother-in-law…guess what, kids…I have some pizzas in my truck…do you mind helping me get them,” said Richard. “Yeah,” said Missy and Roman Jr. The three of them went outside. “Hey! Wait up, you guys,” Jerry said as he went after his brother, niece, and brand new nephew. Then Wendy and the guys started to giggle.

The whole family sat on the living room floor and ate their pizzas. Roman Sr. and Missy were joking around like normal fathers and daughters do. “Be careful, you guys,” Wendy warned them. Richard, Milton Jr., Jerry, and Roman Jr. had started their own eating contest. They were trying to compete on who can get the most slices of pizza. “Oooh…I ate that piece too fast, guys,” Milton Jr. said to them. “Serve you right, big brother…have some water,” Wendy said. The rest of them burst out laughing as Milton Jr. drank his bottled water.


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