Lea and Brent joined Sly.
“Isn’t that Alissa out there?”, Lea asked.
“Yeah, that’s her!”, Sly answered.
“Man does she look hot tonight!”, Brent said.
“Too hot!”, Sly told him.
As they watched, Alissa decided that she had had enough dancing.
“I’m thirsty.”, she told her dance partner.
He nodded. “Wait here, I’ll get you something to drink.”, he told her. After a few moments he returned with a drink from the bar. Alissa took a sip, and the alcohol in the drink took her breath away. She tried to hand the drink back to him.
“I don’t think I’d better drink this.”, she told him.
“Drink it down quickly. You just have to get used to the taste.”, the guy told her.
Sly had had enough. He rushed over to them. He didn’t care that the guy was bigger and older than he was.
“She said she doesn’t want it!”, Sly told him.
“What business is it of yours?”, the guy asked him.
“I’m making it my business!”, Sly responded angrily.
The man grabbed Alissa’s arm. Then Sly punched him.
I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. I got up and moved away from the bed to take the call, hoping not to awaken Alana. Of course Alana still woke up.
“Who was that David?”, she asked, as I headed to the dresser to get dressed.
“It was a police officer calling to tell me to come and pick Alissa up at the police station. He said that she was involved in an altercation at Club Grind tonight, and that she was uninjured.”, I answered.
“David, please try to keep your temper!”, she told me as I left out the bedroom.
Aidan heard his father leave. As late as it was, he knew it had to be about Alissa. Terry had told him that Alissa had skipped their seventh period class. She had to have been going to meet Sly, but Aidan didn’t tell their parents.
“Are you awake Aidan?”, Joel asked from the bottom bunk.
“Yeah. What are you doing awake?”, Aidan responded.
“Alissa didn’t read me my story like she promised. I stayed awake, but she still hasn’t come home!”, he told me. “Do you think something happened to her?”, he asked anxiously.
“I’m sure she is fine!”, Aidan assured him. “How about if I get your book and read to you?”
“Thanks, Aidan!”, Joel told him.
The first thing I saw when I entered the police station was Sly and Alissa seated on a bench. Sly had his arm wrapped around Alissa and they were cuddled together. I was suddenly furious. I knew that Sly was responsible for the changes in my little girl. I rushed over to them.
Alissa jumped up and stood in front of me. Sly also stood up.
“No Dad!”, Alissa cried, sensing my intention of pummeling Sly. “Sly saved me from a man at the club. He wanted me to go home, but I didn’t listen. The fight was my fault, not his!”
I looked at how Alissa was dressed. “What are you wearing?”, I asked her angrily. “Go get in the car and wait for me!”
When she didn’t move, I said, “Now, Alissa!” She looked at Sly and then headed out to the car. I remembered Alana’s warning to hold my temper and took deep breaths to calm myself. Then I turned back to Sly.
“I suppose I have to thank you for protecting my daughter. So thank you. However, we both know that she was there in the first place because of you. I know that if I forbid her to see you anymore, she won’t listen. So these are the rules. If you break them once, then I will break your neck.”, I told him. He stood quietly listening.
I continued,”Before you take my daughter out, you have to clear it with me. You will tell me where you are taking her and make sure that she is home by her curfew. No more sneaking around. Period! Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir.”, he told me respectfully. “Now may I say something?”, he asked.
“Go ahead.”, I said.
“Mr. Fermin, I want you to know that I love and respect your daughter and would never intentionally put her in any situation that would harm her. I didn’t want her to go to the Grind, but she went there anyway. I love her as she is. I don’t want her to change, but she won’t listen to me. I will gladly follow all of your rules if it means that I can continue to see Alissa!”, he told me.
He sounded sincere, but only time will tell.