Dis: I own nothing.
"So tell me all about it." Lauren said in way of greeting barged into the room Payson was staying it.
It was late Sunday night, and the weekend had been long and event filled. What Payson really wanted to do was lay down and sleep until the Olympics, but she knew better than to let that feeling take hold. While some things had been fun, the weekend hadn't turned out as planed, and definitely not as therapeutic as her coach had planed.
"It was fun. There was so much going on. There were indoor and out door skate parks always filled with all levels of skateboarders and bmx riders doing incredible things. They had a rockwall and velcro walls, bonfires and sing-along, it was like camp meets X-Games, I could have spent a whole week there and never got board of it." Payson gushed hoping that her attempt to avoid the real topic of Lauren's quarry wasn't too obvious.
"While it's almost amazing to hear you enjoy something that isn't gymnastics, you know what I was talking about Pay." Lauren wiggled her eyebrows suggestively perching on the corner of Payson's bed.
Payson let out a long sigh.
"We held hands, kissed a few times. It was crowded and there was always some place else to be. Nothing 'exciting' happened." Payson watched Lauren waiting for her to come to the conclusion that was the truth. Rigo had dumped her, well actually they'd sort of had a mutual break, and while Payson felt hollow inside, it didn't hurt her in the same way or for the same reasons that Max dumping her did. Still she wasn't ready to talk about it, so she would lie to Lauren this time if need be, pretend that she was still with Rigo.
"You two aren't so good at this sneaking off stuff are you?" Lauren asked, shocking Payson, she had expected to be seen through.
"I guess not." she managed to choke out past disbelief. "He had commitments to attended to, I think I spent more time with Kendra than with him."
"Who's Kendra?" Lauren asked thrown by the new name.
"Sasha's niece" except she wasn't, but that was a different story and one that Sasha didn't want shared, at least not yet.
"Her boyfriend is on the Olympic team with Rigo, and she's a pretty big name in women's bmx freestyle. It's how Sasha got the passes." Lauren didn't look impressed.
"So.." she hesitated for a moment before going on. "Did Summer have a good time?"
Payson knew where this was going, she'd remembered Steve Tanner's reaction to the trip, and knew that his opposition to her going was more in opposition to Summer going. He'd been just short of foul tempered upon her departure and she hadn't seen him since her return. Sasha had dropped her off then Summer, who had been uncharacteristically quiet on the way home.
"I'm not sure." she finally answered, "She didn't care for some of the behaviors taking place in the campsite. Like I said there wasn't a lot of privacy and some people just didn't care. There was also a good bit of drinking and smoking, and course language." Payson shrugged.
"I didn't pay a lot of attention to them. I know she wasn't too happy with Sasha for being ok with his sixteen year old niece dating a nineteen year old." she supplied what she knew Lauren wanted to hear.
She knew Summer had her share of fun too, she'd seen them on the trampolines and been there when Sasha had finally given in and sung at the campfire, he'd sung to Summer." Payson felt a small amount of jealousy at the last bit. Rigo had done similar for her, a duet with Kendra's boyfriend of Enrique Iglesias' Don't Turn Out The Lights" ... it was actually a rather comical performance at the time, Kendra and herself supplying the 'E-I-E-I-O' parts. The next morning took all possible romantic thoughts out of it and made it a total farce. Sasha's was real, he was the type to wear his heart on his sleeve with things like that.
"Did Sasha just not care?" Lauren asked, forcing Payson to refrain from rolling her eyes.
"It wasn't that he didn't care, he knew the guy, his dad is an old acquaintance of Sasha's. I guess he trust them together." It really wasn't any of Lauren's business. Heck it wasn't any of her business for that matter, but Payson had found herself privy to conversations that normally she wouldn't have been and for one reason or another Sasha trusted her to keep that information to herself.
"Payson, you keep spacing out, so I think I'll let you rest and unpack." Payson just nodded her response flopping back on her bed.
"Payson this isn't working out. I think we both know it. While at the training center we were in love with the idea of being in love, not with each other."
They were standing in a small clearing not far from the cliff diving spot. She knew she couldn't deny Rigo's words, she'd been thinking it all morning. Friday had been rushed, and she had been tired from travel, Saturday had been something totally different. She'd felt like an outsider next to Rigo, not once had he introduced her as his girlfriend, and most of the time she was left out of the conversation. Then the night came, she had watched the other couples around them and how they acted, it wasn't so much the kissing, hand holding and lack of personal space between partners but the way they seemed in-sync with each other. It had dawned on her that she had more of a connection and cohesion with the man sat across the campfire fingers entwined with another woman's than she did with her own boyfriend.
It was the part that he said next that had hurt her.
"I can't be a replacement for him, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to be." she had tried to deny what he was saying.
"What are you talking about? I have never expected you to be anyone but yourself." she said forcefully
"Payson, you may not realize it, but when you are around him it's obvious. You still have feeling for Sasha, I saw it when he came to help with your final performance, and again yesterday. The two of you have your own silent language, you've taken to Kendra like a sister, and unless I'm mistaken some of the looks you were getting you know more about the man than his own girlfriend, though I doubt after this weekend that she will stay with him." he concluded.
"I bonded with Kendra because my 'boyfriend' was always busy or leaving me out of the conversation. I've felt like an outsider this whole weekend with you. Kendra at least found ways to include me." she countered knowing it was a weak argument and her comments petty at best.
"You are right this isn't working, our worlds are just too different, and if you are going to throw an old crush back in my face then you aren't the kind of person I thought you were. My only regret is that I gave so much of myself to you." She stormed off after that, and hadn't seen him again before leaving.
If Summer or Sasha suspected anything they didn't say a word, she suspected both had a lot on their minds.
Monday and Tuesday flew by quickly, Payson slipped into robot mode and used the upcoming half day on Wednesday for Independence Day as the excuse. Lauren had only been able to talk about Jake all week, with him arriving in town that morning.
"I wish I could be there when his plane comes in, but we've got such a night planed that I guess it doesn't matter." Lauren gushed, "Too bad Rigo couldn't be here. You're still coming out to the cove with us thought; right Pay?" Payson zoned back in at her name and gave a nod that was all Lauren needed.
"Everyone is going to be there, Daddy even invited Summer and Sasha, you won't be the only single person either, Jordan and Colleen will be there too." Lauren said not even realizing her slip.
"I'm not single Lo, my boyfriend just won't be here." Payson said with a slight bit more edge than necessary. Heaven forbid that Lauren find out the truth, she would be trying to hook her up with every single guy there.
"That's what I meant. Sheeze no need to bite my head off, not like I was suggesting that you hook up with someone else." Her tone made it clear that it was now a thought occurring to her however.
Payson raised her eyebrows at Lauren before moving on to the runway for vault.
She would go to the stupid gathering simply because she didn't want to be alone in the Tanner home.
Summer had made her decision. She knew Saturday evening going to bed how things would turn out, but she kept looking for something to provide her with a thread of doubt. She told herself she would wait until Sunday when they got back, see if anything changed.
She had thought their different beliefs would be the biggest boundary between them. While it was still a sizable one, she had discovered this weekend the biggest was the fact that Sasha kept too much to himself.
It had bothered her when he didn't tell her about Payson kissing him at the time, she still believed him that he was an innocent in the ordeal, but the fact that he wouldn't share that with her still bothered her. There was also the fact that she had learned most of what she knew about him second hand, the majority of that coming from Kim Keeler (who had either learned it from Sasha or her daughter) simply mentioning it in passing. The loss of one of his Romanian gymnast was another example.
There was also something else that had started to eat at Summer's conscience this weekend. It was the way Sasha could so easily dismiss the influence and responsibility he had in others lives. He had refused to step in and support Emily in her situation. Even admitting that he selfishly wished she would chose to abort the child. She knew his relationship with his own father was bad but that didn't warrant the detachment he showed, after all her father had been no example and she still valued family.
That is what it came down to, their sense of family was completely different. His relationship with his niece was a prime example.
Kendra Dupré was a female clone of Sasha. It went beyond the eyes, hair and bone structure. It was hard to put into words, she was confident to the point of being cocky almost, strong willed and sure of herself as a person. A professional athlete in her own right, and headed straight for a disaster similar to that which Sasha had encountered.
Summer had heard all about the mess between M.J., Marty and Sasha. She'd even gone so far as to Google it so she would have an idea of what subject might be too sensitive to bring up. A young Sasha Belov, not of majority yet involved with the very much adult M.J. Martin, who was also his manager. While his niece wasn't involved with her manager she was doing the next worse thing and dating his son who would be twenty before she would be seventeen. The age gap may not be large but it was the difference between a child and an adult in her eyes. Further she believed strongly that Sasha wasn't as distantly related as a favored uncle that passed in and out of her life having no say. She clearly idolized him, and had him wrapped around her finger.
Yet he passively watched the pair flirt and banter giving no sign of disapproval. He showed no sign of worry or concern when they mentioned staying out a lone on several occasions and trekking from meet to meet without a responsible adult present. When she questioned him on his thoughts he shrugged the subject off replying that his niece had good judgment and he trusted the young man to do right by her, that their goals and priorities were in the right place. Summer had simply bitten her lip and kept her reservations to herself.
The final straw had come for her Monday night, she noticed a set of pictures sitting on his coffee table. Her curiosity got the better of her. She leafed through them, stopping when she got to a picture of a family, what was clearly a mother and father much in love, both with dark hair and brown eyes holding a boy who couldn't have been more than a year old and a baby. The baby stood out in the picture, in her christening gown, blond hair and blue eyes a stark contrast to the other three in the picture.
"Who are these people?" Summer asked coming into the kitchen where Sasha was rummaging through the fridge for sandwich goods.
He paused for a moment looking at the picture, a mix of emotions flashed in his eyes, the most surprising to Summer was the look of pain.
"That's my sister's family." His voice was of forced indifference.
"The kids look so close together in age. They must have their hands full." She commented.
"Storm and Kendra are only ten months and a few days apart. Both have gotten up to their fair share if mischief, but they're both good kids for the most part."
She placed the photo back and sifted through a few more. She had no reason to doubt what Sasha said, but the oddity of it shook her a little, siblings that close in age were very uncommon, and for one to show such recessive genetics was even rarer. Summer was no geneticists but she knew that brown was dominant in both eyes and hair, so to come out with both blue and blond against both parents was another anomaly. She flipped through some more pictures, many of them of his sister's family, some of his childhood. She noticed there didn't seem to be any of his mother. She came across one of him with his coach training; the date stamp said Aug. 1995 and Sasha looked innocent and happy, more so than she'd ever have pictured him. She went to lay the picture down and realized that a smaller polaroid was stuck to the back. Gently she pealed them apart.
She gasped, the photo was of a sickly looking blond woman holding a new born, clearly her new born. The date stamp was Sep 1995, almost seventeen years ago. The woman looked young, maybe thirty at best, but clearly tired and unhealthy. The label at the bottom of the photo is what rocked Summer the most.
"Rudele mele" (My kindred).
Summer shuffled the photo back in with the rest, and joined Sasha in the kitchen
Later that night she let her mind go over the knowledge that she had. Sasha would have been just a little over fifteen when Kendra was born, the woman in the photo couldn't possibly have a grown daughter and a teenaged son. Kendra was his spitting image, and Sasha seemed to have a thing for older women.
Sasha's sister was raising his daughter. That was the only conclusion that Summer could come to.
She would drop some hints that she suspected and give him until the celebration Wednesday night to come clean and trust her with it.
AN: Ok, so this is long, and after about seven different versions, five different PoV, I dislike this one the least. Kendra may seem sudden, but she is a necessary evil (well actually Summer and Rigo were my evil)... Also my mom and her older brother are only ten months and two weeks apart, so the it is possible.