(Note, if you have not seen the movie Taps from 1981 staring Tom Cruise you will not understand this story. If you do know what I’m talking about, enjoy)
I stared at her from across the class room. She was the only girl in the entire school. Her rich daddy pulled a few strings so she could come here and become a solder. I was curious about her. But she was always hanging out with that Dwyer. I couldn’t stand him and he felt the same way. Worst part was we were roomies along with Brian Moreland and Edward West.
What I wouldn’t give to know a little more about that girl other then her name. It was beautiful too. Christina Waywater. She had beautiful dark brown hair, green eyes, she was sorta small too, but from what I heard she’s brilliant. I think she pushes herself more than anyone else in this school. I know the teachers cut her a couple of points because they don’t her.
Class and school was finally over. I headed straight to the library on campus because we had a test coming up and I didn’t want to flunk. My dad would not be happy in the least.
“Come on, Chirsa. Please.” I heard Dwyer beg.
“No.” a quiet but firm voice said, “They’re your friends, Alex not mine.”
“Because you never took the time to make any friends. Please, I know you’ll like them.” He continued.
I came a little closer pretending to look for a book.
“How do you know that?” She demanded.
I glanced over and saw her pretty green eyes covered by thick, black rimmed glasses. So, she needed glasses to read then?
“Because I know you, Chrisa. I know the kind of people that you’ll feel comfortable enough with to play dungeons and dragons with. They’re all good guys. Well, except for Shawn, but he doesn’t have to play. All the guys really wanted to have this game with you.” He said.
“Lire.” She told him, “All the guys hate me. They want nothing more than for me to leave and go to some girly boarding school and learn how to be a lady. Alex, they chew me out and push me around. I don’t want to play.”
“Come on, Christina.” He was begging, “I’m trying to give you a chance to change that fact and get a couple more friends. I talked my room mates and their other friends into letting you come over to our room to play. Now can you please do your best friend a favor and say yes?”
She sighed, “Fine.” She told him, “But when I get board, feel uncomfortable, or just plain don’t want to be there anymore I’m leaving.”
“I’m just asking you stay for about twenty minutes at least.” Dwyer told her, “Do whatever you want after that.”
“I’ll see ya’ later then.” He said and left.
She went back to studying, and then left just before four. I was told the game would be at five. So I stayed a while.
“Hey, Dave.” Brian said coming down the corridor towards me.
“Hey, Brian.” I greeted.
“Did Alex tell you were going to have a guest for D and D tonight?” He asked like it was a bad thing.
“No, who?” I asked playing dumb.
“Christina.” He said rolling his eyes.
“What she do to you?” I asked thinking that it was something pretty bad to make saint Brian roll his eyes at a name.
“Nothing directly.” He told me as we headed to out room, “She’s just so cold, never talks to anyone, and one time me and a couple other of us asked her to play basket ball with them. She didn’t even reply. She stood up, shook her head, and walked away with out saying anything.”
He nodded. We turned into our room. The guys were setting things up. The game, some snacks, and a few chairs.
“Hey.” They called continuing with what they were doing.
“Hey.” We called back.
When we were fully set up there was a quiet knock at the door. Alex practicly jumped up and ran over to answer it. Dork, I thought. He was sitting furthest away from the door.
“Hey,” He said like he was talking to an injured animal, “Glad you could come.”
He moved aside and let, Christina in. She didn’t have on her over coat, non of us did. Her hair was in a pony-tail instead of the usual bun.
“I brought chips.” She almost whispered.
“What flavor?” Shovel asked.
“Dill pickle.” She replied.
“Welcome to the game.” West said motioning for her to take a seat.
We started the game and it turns out, Christina was winning. She was really good at it. by the end of it she won, non of were happy about that. But we all got along pretty well through it. I learned a bit about her too, she didn’t really tell very much about herself.
“You really surprised me here, Waywater.” Hulk told her.
“Why do you always do that when some one talks to you?” West asked annoyed.
She looked around very cool like. It was almost like she was sizing each of us up.
Her voice came out calm and strong, “I took a big risk with, Alex.” She began, “If I get to close to some one, especially more than one, I don’t want to be responsible for when they get hurt and it’s my fault. I don’t want that to happen.”
All of us just sorta looked at her like she was out of her mind.
“What do you mean?” I asked after a minute.
She sorta smiled sadly and grimly, “Even if I told you everything, you wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of my mouth.”
We kept staring at her like she was insane. Then again, she did have to go to counselor regularly. According to the higher up cadets, she’s mentally ill. She just never shows it.
She stood up like nothing ever happened.
“Thank you for inviting me over for the game.” She said sounding almost sweet, “I had fun. Maybe we could get together and do it again sometime. Now if you wouldn’t mind excusing me.”
She left quietly. As she shut the door something dawned on me. I’ve only really talked to this girl a handful of times, most of it was to ask her to pass the salt or something. One game of D and D, a few snacks, and a little small talk during the game: I’m in love with her.
Now, what the hell am I supposed to do?
It was a few days after the D and D game. Saturday to be exact. We were a loud off campus every weekend so long as we represented our school with respect. Alex was going to hang out with Christina, he said we could join if we wanted. Christina wouldn’t mind.
Naturally I wanted to go. But not if it were just me, Alex, and Christina. For a few reasons. 1:It would show that even though I hate Alex, I want to get close to his friend. 2: It shows I have nothing better to do.
Thankfully Brian and West wanted to spend a little more time with Christina too.
But, on the morning of the day we were going to go out a really big and expensive car pulled into the school. We were all curious so we went to see. The man that came out was fat and well dressed. He had a woman with him who was dressed completely in appropriately. She was showing off everything. And I think she was only about half his age.
He went to General Bache’s office. When he came back, the General was with them leading them to one of the cadet’s rooms. I figured it was one of the other’s parents. He stopped at Christina’s door and knocked. He was a gentle man after all, he respected a woman’s privacy.
She opened the door and let them in. I didn’t know what was going on so I just waited. The general, the man, and the slut all came out of the room and down the stairs.
All of us went back to our rooms as an order form the general. Something slipped under our door as we were playing cards and a soft knock. Alex got to it.
He read it, crumpled it up, threw it across the room, and started punching his pillow.
I looked at the note.
I’m sorry, but I can’t come today. My ‘father’ is here to take me out for and ‘daddy-daughter day’, as he calls them. I’m really sorry. I was looking forward to spending time with you guys as a group again. It was so much fun the first time. I should have trusted you earlier about them. But I don’t think your right about Shawn. I’ll try and make it up to you some other time I promise. I really am so sorry. Please tell the others I can’t come today.
“Okay.” I said to the room as they were staring at Alex, “She’s with her dad, so what? We’ll hang out tomorrow or something.”
“You just don’t get it do you?!” He snapped grabbing my collar and slamming me against the wall.
“Her dad hates her! That wasn’t ever her mom with him! Do you have any idea what’s going to happen now that she’s out there with him!?” He hissed.
“Father daughter day, you idiot!” I told him pushing him away, “Can’t you read?”
He did the air quotations and said, ” A ‘father daughter day’ that’s what he calls it.” He put his arms down, “You realize that’s not what’s going to go on, right!?”
“Then tell me Dwyer, what is going to happen, and how the hell do you know?” I hissed.
“Christina is my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were six. She trusts me with everything, she even said. I return the favor with her as well. I know this for a fact. Christina is going to go out with her father, and he’s going to smack her around like a rag doll. When he drops her back off, she’ll have bruises, cracked ribs, and possibly a limp and a black eye. She’s her daughter, yet he’s practically killing her. Why do you even care?”
“Well excuse me for thinking she’s worth while to have as a friend. And is there anything we can do about it?” I asked mad at him.
“Nothing we can ever do!” He yelled starting to pace around the room, “Her father’s loaded and has a lot of power. We could say what ever we want about him, he’ll deny it and we’ll look like we’ve lost it! Christina isn’t mentally ill ya’ know. Her father says she is so when she says what he did to her, he can claim the truth is that she didn’t take her medication and fell. The only thing that shows any sign of being disturbed with her is her drawings. But there actually really cool. Her father can do whatever he want’s with her and no one can do anything about it. Her mom’s still fighting to keep her full time. I only new her because when her parents got the divorce her mom moved into the house next mine. Every summer she’d be there and every Christmas break because her father wouldn’t want her to come vacationing with them. Bastard makes me sick.”
“So we can’t do anything?” Brian chimed in reminding us they were here.
“No.” Dwyer said, “We can be here for her when she gets back and practically passes out.”
We all went out figuring that it would be the best way to kill time. Dwyer picked up some fresh razz berries. I don’t know why. I was still worried about Christina. We came back about twenty minutes before curfew. Being early is on time, being on time is late, and being late is never acceptable.
It was an hour past curfew when the same car from earlier came back up. Dwyer rushed out of the room. Christina stumbled out and headed towards the door.
When the rest of us got to the foray. Dwyer was helping her up the stairs. Her head was down, her hair cascaded down hiding her face. She was limping. And I was pretty sure I was a couple bruises.
He’d been right. She whined in pain and they stopped.
“It’s okay, I’m right here.” Dwyer cooed to her.
She took a breath and continued. We were all sorta trying to help her to her room. Thank God no one else was in the corridors.
We finally got her to her room and Dwyer sat her on the bed.
“Let me see.” He said kneeling in front of her.
She turned her head.
“Come on honey, let me see.” He told her.
Did he just call her honey? Oh God help me.
She faced him. He moved the hair from her face gently. He was right again, the right side of her face was pretty much purple. From her temple to below her cheek bone anyway.
“I swear to God I’m going to kill him one of these days.” Dwyer hissed and started checking other places.
“It’s okay, Alex. Really.” She told him when he was trying to clean a small cut on her fore arm, “It’s not that bad.”
“I don’t care.” He told her when he was finished.
“I’ll be fine. Why don’t you go get some sleep?” She told him, even though it was painfully obvious that she was about to crash.
“Hey, honey.” Dwyer said softly to the hurt girl, “Guess what I got for you today. Razz berries honey. I thought they’d make you feel better.”
“Thanks Axey.” She said and smiled at him.
“Get some sleep. I’ll give them to you tomorrow.” He said.
She nodded. We left. All the night I couldn’t help but think about what was going on with that girl. Was she really only portrayed as crazy by an abusive father? Was she just scared about close to anyone with fear of her dad hurting them? Why did he pull all those strings just so she could come here then?And what did she mean when she said, ‘I think your wrong about Shawn’? I didn’t get to answer any of these, I fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up early to take a shower before we had to go to church. When I went down there Christina was brushing her teeth.
“Sorry.” She mumbled after she spit.
“Your up early.” I commented, “Why?”
She shrugged, “I wanted to shower before any of the guys got up. I didn’t get to last night.”
“So how are you feeling?” I asked.
She shrugged, “I could be better. But, I’m fine.” She said forcing herself to smile.
I nodded not believing her. I wanted to ask her a lot more, but I couldn’t find the words. Instead I just watched her limp out of the bathroom, up the stairs, and down the corridor until I couldn’t see her anymore.