Is She Really What They Say?( A Taps Story)

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Summer session was in full swing. We were training almost all day. The odd time there’d be a night training session.

As of right now we had a few days free of training.

Me and the guys had plans to go around town and hang out. I was working in the kitchen for the morning, I always did as request of the general. He said he never minded having anyone as strong and determined as I, but he did suggest I pick up a few ‘woman skills’, as he calls them, when I can.

The kitchen staff was actually quite nice and excepting of me from the beginning. I had fun, and they’d let me make dinner for everyone some nights.

No one other than Alex knew about it though. But after a little while I told Shawn too. I had him promise not to tell anyone. Someone found out it’s just one more reason why I shouldn’t be here. One more thing for them to comment on about me being girl. I hated it with a passion, but Shawn actually liked me more for it.

He really is a strange one that boy. Then again I am too. I guess we make a pretty good pair together.

I told them I’d meet them at the park at ten hundred hours.

I was running a little late. I spilt some batter so I had to clean it up and start again.

I was running down the street trying to make it on time. We were going to decide what to do when I got there.

I saw them sitting on one of the benches.

“Hey! Sorry I’m late!” I said as I stopped next to them and caught my breath.

“Right on time.” Brain said checking his watch.

“So what are we going to do?” J.C. asked.

We all thought for a moment.

“We could go to the arcade.” Alex suggested.

“No,” Rusty said, “Me and Shawn got into a disagreement with some of the townies that hang around there a lot. Not the best place.”

We nodded in agreement. This place belonged to the civilians, not us. We were borrowing it for a while until we were excepted into the army, navy, air force, and marines. We all knew that.

“What about the skating place?” Eddy brought up.

“I pissed off the owner a while ago.” Shawn said.

“Can’t go anywhere with you.” Alex mumbled.

Shawn did a nice thing and pretended not to hear him for my sake. I glared at Alex a little before coming up with something.

“How about the ice cream parlor?” I suggested, “We can have milkshakes and

listen to the music on the juke box.”

“That sounds good.” Brain told me.

The rest nodded in agreement.

We headed over, talking about this and that. Not holding one particular conversation very long.

We came in laughing about a joke I just told. We grabbed a both and ordered milkshakes, still talking.

“You two always get the same.” Bug stated as we started slurping on our think drinks, “Why?”

Alex and I looked at each other from across the table for a second, then shrugged.

“Great minds think a like.” We said at the same time.

“You’re both crazy is what you are.” Rusty told us.

“How you figure that?” I asked going back to my chocolate and vanilla drink.

“You’ve been taking on guys that have the potential to kill you, Christina.” J.C. started.

“And, Alex has the nerve to fight with Shawn, and he can hold it with you.” Ed told me.

I shrugged, “You should of seen some of the stuff we did before we came here.”

Alex laughed, “Good times.”

“Ain’t about to deny that, but we were trouble.” I commented.

“Chrisa, that’s an understatement and you know it.” He corrected.

“Why don’t you two ever talk about the stuff you got into before?” Brain asked.

We both awkwardly sipped our shakes not answering.

“We’re waiting.” Shawn cooed almost evilly to us, he was sitting next to me. At this moment his hand was lightly on my knee.

I stopped and looked at him, “We don’t talk about it ’cause before I didn’t know you guys well enough. And we wont know because you’d kill Alex if you knew half the stuff we did.” I then turned my attention back to my drink. It was huge and I barely made a dent in it.

“Forget half the stuff, he finds out ten things we did.” Alex told me giving me that playful look, “He’ll explode.”

I giggled and nodded in agreement with that. We did a lot of crazy things before this. Even before we were at this point right now. He found out about any of them, any of the more embarrassing, humiliating, messy things. One bad thing, Shawn’s just. . . . . . . . . . . protective and slightly possessive.

“And what were some of these things?” Rusty pressed wanting either to see Alex get killed, or Shawn’s head explode.

“Stuff.” I said.

“like?” He pressed more.

“No of your business, quite asking.” Alex snapped.

J.C. gasped and joking said, “Did you two marry when you were little?-gasp- Is that what you don’t want Shawn to know? That you two kissed and are secretly together?”

I almost chalked on my drink at that.

“What?” Me and Alex demanded at the same time.

“You heard me.” He teased.

Alex and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then, without warning, burst out laughing.

They looked at us like we were crazy.

“M-me and Alex. Y-You haha- have to be kidding!” I laughed.

“Not a chance in hell.” Alex continued.

We finally calmed down enough to talk properly.

I shook my head, “I ain’t ever been married, neither has he.”

“I don’t think I wanna for a while.” He said.

“Then what’s the stuff you don’t want me to know?” Shawn asked.

I looked at him and batted my eyes at him, “If I told you that then what would the point of keeping it from you be?”

He sighed, “Why do I try with you?” He asked himself.

” ‘Cause you love me, ‘member.” I told him.

“Right.” He said nodding and looking away.

“seriously,” Brain said more to me than Alex, “I just wanna know one thing, please.”

I hated to see a cadet beg. I glanced at Alex, his face showed he didn’t care as long as Shawn was as far away from him as possible.

I thought for a moment.

“We’ve shared the same the bed.” I said.

They all stopped, Shawn tensed up next to me.

“It’s nice when you’re seven or something, but we grew out of it after a year or so.” I told them thoughtfully, “Besides, when we had sleep overs we’d most likely be passed out on the couch watching a movie or something.”

They all looked disappointed, Shawn relaxed again when I told him about the age.

“Aww, that ain’t fun.” Eddy whined.

“He only said one.” I told them bringing the straw to my lips again.

“And you didn’t want me to know why?” Shawn asked.

I shrugged, “Figured you’d get all pissy with it again, try and take Alex out when I’m not around. Make some big deal about it, like how seven-year old’s sharing a bed translates to sex or something.”

The rest of the table laughed.

“I would not, I just want the truth.” He whispered in my ear.

I looked up at him and pressed my lips together. I leaned up and whispered in his ear,

“I’ll keep my secrets, you keep yours.”

He let out a frustrated sigh. I didn’t care. He didn’t need to know all of what we did.

“Come on Alex you next.” Rusty pressed, yet again.

“Why do you always press us about stuff?” He asked trying to change the subject, “There are plenty of brothers in the school you can press for stuff, why always us?”

“Because unlike all the brothers in this school,”He began, “The only one who’s a girl is Christina, and the only one in the school who’s close enough to her to call her brother is you. Now spill.”

“She skipped a grade and we got in detention a lot together. We beat up a bunch of kids that we didn’t like and ran around the forest near our town every summer. We’re best friends, what else is there you wanna know?” He asked annoyed.

“Wait.” J.C. said freezing to conversation, “You skipped a grade?” He asked me staring in disbelief.

I nodded,”I skipped kinder garden and went straight into first grade. I was in advanced programs because I refused to skip another grade. On the bright side, Alex and I raised all kinds of hell on the playground together.”

“So, instead of going on fifteen, you’re thirteen going on fourteen?” Brain asked.

I nodded, “Yeah, and you guys never knew the difference.”

They all turned to Shawn and said, “Pedophile.”

My jaw dropped, and he was looking for something to say. Alex was trying to burst out laughing.

“He’s a year older, that means nothing.” I told them, “A pedophile is an adult that takes an interest with children, and takes action upon it.”

“Still.” J.C. laughed.

I took the rest of my milkshake and dumped it on his head. I grabbed Shawn’s hand and stormed out of the parlor, dragging him behind me.

“Christina.” He said stopping me after we were a couple blocks away.

“What?” I asked timidly.

“That was awesome.” He said smiling, “Thanks for sticking up for me, like that.”

“Thanks for not dumping me after I told you the first time.” I said smiling.

He put his arm around my shoulders and we walked, presumably back to school.

“I love you, Christina.” He told me, “I’ll except you no matter what.”

I smiled and wrapped my arms around his waist.

“Thank you.” I said.

“Now, what’s some of this other stuff, I don’t need to know?” He asked as we walked.

I just sighed and rolled my eyes at him, he wasn’t about to drop this anytime soon.

 

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Is She Really What They Say?(A Taps Story)

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BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

I slammed my fist down on the snooze button of my alarm clock. I was exhausted. I pulled the covers off of my head, I blinked adjusting my eyes to the bright sunlight coming through me window. I stretched out a little then rolled out of bed.

Today was the last day of classes, tomorrow we had the commencement day and the senior dance. 

I yawned again and grabbed clean cloths, a towel, and toiletries. I quietly made my way down the corridor and down the stairs to the bathroom.

I was always the first one up. I had to if I wanted to shower in the morning. 

I did my morning routine and put on the official Bunker Hill cadet uniform. 

After this summer session we’d be in our fourth year. Things had started looking up for me. 

My mom finally got the restraining order put through for me from my father, so he wasn’t aloud anywhere near me. Shawn and I were going strong. I had even better relationships with the guys then I could have asked for at the beginning. And I really think Alex has come to except Shawn as my boyfriend. 

I heard pounding on my door.

“Christina! We’re gonna be late!” Alex said through the door.

I ripped it open and grabbed his hand and booked it down the corridor to our first class. We both had our books, so that was good.

——-

The new seniors came in, the old ones left. The ceremony went well, no problems with the dance. 

Shawn and I managed to sneak away during the end of it. We made out a little and talked mostly. 

He was such a great guy too.

——

First day of the summer recess, after everyone left. I was walking with Brian and Eddy. We were talking about random stuff. Nothing really holding a topic.

All of us heard a loud. . . . smash. That would be the best way to describe it. 

I had a weird feeling about it, so did they apparently. All three of us ran to the spot where it came from.

In the common house, where we all slept. Right next to the senior rec room.

There they were. Alex and Shawn, going at it. No fists being thrown. But something happened. They were chewing each other out. 

“You don’t even deserve!” Alex hissed.

“You’re a little pint sized-

“Enough.” I barked getting in between them.

They stopped immediately, I glanced at both of them for a while them said,

“What the hell were you two fighting about this time?”

I put my hands on my hips and looked between both of them for a while waiting for one of them to speak.

“Shawn said he didn’t want me near or talking to you anymore.” Alex told me.

I glared at my boyfriend.

“He was getting way to friendly with you the other day.” he defended, “I was just making sure he knew you were with me.”

I rolled my eyes.

“No more fighting!” I told them, “At least not over, or around me.”

They looked down ashamed. I sighed and ran a hand through my hair.

“Shawn, I’m sorry but this one’s all on you.” I told him, his head shot up in shock, Alex was smirking with victory.

“Alex is my best friend.” I started slowly, “He’s like the brother I never had. Of course we’re going to be close. He knows I’m with you, and let me tell you we have no attraction between us at all. And it’s idiotic for you to think that. No matter what, Alex and I will always be close, but I’ll always love you.”

“Time out!” Alex exclaimed coming up to me.

“You love him?” He almost hissed.

I nodded, “I told you the other day, didn’t I?” I asked him as much as myself.

He seemed flustered and confused.

“You’re missing the point.” he said.

“Then what’s the point?” I asked.

“You love him. Not, like him.” He explained slowly, “I thought you said that you’d only ever give your heart to one man as long as you live, and that one man would be the best man.”

I nodded. He was even more shocked and confused.

he started stuttering part words of gibberish,

“I-you, eck, b-but. No-how-but, no. Ther-but, and”

I put a hand on his shoulder and he stopped.

“Alex, I’ll talk to you about this later. I know you’re concerned.”

“CONSERNED!” He yelled, “I think that’s an understatement, Chris! And no not later! Now! I wanna know what I’m missing.”

He crossed his arms and stared down at me.

Alex has always been taller then me. All the guys have. I was about as muscular as anyone of them, the exception being Hulk. I could just never argue with Alex. 

I sighed, “Fair warning, I’m about to rant on like a little girl.”

He ran a hand through his hair, he knew this would be bad.

“He’s protective of me, not like you, like a brother, but like a boyfriend.” I started, “He never tries to hurt me no matter what, and if he does, which he hasn’t, he makes up for it by taking me out to a Tom Cruise movie without me even dropping any hints I wanna go. He picks me flowers, and even he’s not like it when you guys are around, he’s real sweat, Alex. I know you don’t like him, but what I’m saying is that he’s a good guy. He treats me right.”

I hopped that’d be enough for him. He still stared down at me, eyes slightly cold.

“There’s something else, Chris.” he told me, “I wanna know.”

I shifted slightly. Should I tell? Shawn’d be even more gentile with me, and I like it when he’s a little rough. But if I don’t Alex will know. 

I sighed, I knew what I had to do. I motioned for Alex to come down to my level. He did and I whispered in his ear;

“To be honest, he’s the only one who I’ve felt pain from since then.”

I pulled away ans he seemed shocked. Everyone else way trying to see if they could decode what I said.

Alex then burst out laughing.

“So-so, that’ss the b-big thing that draws you to him huh?” He asked smiling, “Chris you really are one of a kind, but that does make sense.”

He pulled me in a slight hug.

“I’ll stop fighting with him when he does.” he told me and left go.

“Hey, Shawn.”

“What?”

“I suggest you be extra careful.” he said, “I find out you hurt her, and I will, she bruises easily, I’m gonna hunt you down, and I’m gonna kill you.”

And with that he went upstairs laughing to himself.

After that everyone just shrugged it all off and left.

Shawn came up to me, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and asked,

“What did you tell him?”

“A secret.” i said girlishly. 

“I can keep one.” he said.

“It wouldn’t be a secret anymore if I told you, now wouldn’t it Shawn?” I asked pulling out from under his arm and heading upstairs laughing with him following begging for me to tell him.

Is She Really What They Say?(A Taps Story)

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47….. 48……49……50….. Done!

It was physical training right now. I was in an advanced class with this, mainly because of my strength, stamina, and endurance. I liked it. The only bad thing was I didn’t have any friends.

Well, there were people I got along with well enough, but I wouldn’t call them my friends.

Michel Nasker, who at the beginning of my time here said he was going to make my life a living hell. I told him, by Christmas break, he’d be my bitch. And I made that come true. I will admit I got hit a few times in the process but, it was worth it.

We became fairly good friends before he graduated. Now he’s gone, and a lot of people envy me for doing what I did.

“Alright, you sissies!” Hissed Private Migolley, “Five hundred yard run! You fall behind, You are left behind!”

And with that we started to run. Five hundred yards wasn’t all that much when you think about it. On an average weekend me and Alex would run more than that around the track in the parade field.

I usually enjoyed doing this, but today, I couldn’t wait for this class to be over. Today was Friday, a new movie was coming out and I managed to convince both Alex, and Shawn to join me. It’ gonna be fun.

——–

I ate dinner with all of them. It was usual now.

Shovel was pigging out, Hulk was bragging about how well he did in physical training, Bug was talking about something new he learned with communications, West, Rusty, J.C., and Brian were all talking about a lecture or something they had last period, Shawn and Alex were on opposite ends of the table glaring at their food.

I knew they both knew that each other was coming along. This was why our table was calmer.

Usually everyone was trying to talk over each other, we’re telling jokes, joking about how everyone did on a test, paper, or in physical training. But today, no one wanted to say anything even slightly out of line.

Shawn’s eyes looked like he could kill in a second. Alex didn’t show anything on his face, but his eyes were showing that he wished that Shawn would get hit by a car on the way. And I’m not sure if it was from the hatred towards him, or the fact he didn’t want to sit through another movie with me.

I finished eating and told them both to meet me at the front gates in twenty minutes.

I ran to get changed. I didn’t like going anywhere outside the walls in grass and sweat stained shorts and a t-shirt.

I figured jeans, a t-shirt that read `Buncker Hill`on it would be good enough. I brushed my teeth too. That was just me after dinner.

With that I grabbed my sweater and was off to the front gates. Their were two shadowed figures standing there appearing to be arguing.

I rolled my eyes and walked up.

“Will you two ever stop fighting?” I asked coming up to them.

They stopped and looked at me.

“I’ll stop soon as he does.” Alex said pointing a thumb at Shawn.

“I’ll stop when he isn’t giving me shit.” Shawn hissed back.

I rolled my eyes and linked arms with both of them. Alex on my right, Shawn on my left.

“Come on you two.” I said as I practically dragged them away from the school, “I never ask much of you guys. I never say if you get to know each other you’ll like each other. But can you two please humor me and try not to fight when I’m around?”

“I’ll make an effort, but no promises.” Shawn said.

“I’ll try, but only for you.” Alex said glaring at Shawn.

“That’s all I ask for, and it’s only for when I’m around.”

“And when you’re not around?” Shawn asked.

“Plan the best way to kill each other if you want, I don’t care. Just. . . . not in front of me.”

They nodded.

Alex let go and Shawn laced his fingers through mine as we walked.

I told everyone we were dating after he told me he loved me. They all burst out laughing, but stopped about ten minutes after they realized I was series. It was kinda strange ’cause they encouraged us to be together. I really thought they were gonna tease us.

Day after Shawn and I got together, he gave an engraved necklace. It was on a silver chain, it was in the shape of a heart, the heart was pink, it had stitches on it, the stitches and colour was mounted on a silver back, the engagement was on the back, it read, ‘Christina, I will always protect you. – David Shawn’.

It was adorable. I wear it everywhere now. It helps me realize that I am loved by more than just one or two people, but I am loved.

We came to the theater. There was good number of people outside, but not enough to indicate that the place was packed inside.

We got in line and got our tickets. When we got in there still was a lot of people, but it wasn’t packed.

I bought the popcorn, soda, and candy. Then we went to theater. There was a bunch of people in there, but not too many.

We talked quietly and ate some popcorn before the movie actually started.

When it did, Alex took the popcorn, and I tuned everything out but what I was watching.

——-

It finally ended, and I came back to reality. We got up and I stretched.

We were just walking back to school, not saying anything. I was still lost in the world of that movie.

“Last time I go to see a Tom Cruise movie with you, Christina.” Alex told me, bringing me out of my thoughts.

I sighed but nodded.

“I’ll go with you anytime.” Shawn said.

I smiled, “Thanks.”

“By the way,” He asked, “Why did you get a bunch of candy? Non of us touched it, you didn’t eat any of the popcorn once the movie started either.”

I shrugged, “That’s always been me, I guess. I always get a bunch of popcorn, soda, and candy. But once the movie stats plying I get so into it, I forget completely about it. Kinda why I need someone to come with me all the time.”

He smiled and nodded.

He really needed to do that more often. He was almost cuter than Tom Cruise when he did that.

And, yes. I got a small thing for Tom Cruise.

We went the rest of the way in silence. Alex walking next to me, Shawn holding my hand.

We got into our dorm building. Alex said good night and headed in the direction of his room.

Shawn still didn’t let go of my hand as we walked to my room. We lived in separate halls. Brian, Rusty, West, Hulk, Bug, J.C., Alex, and Shawn all lived in the hall closer to the gates. I lived in the one further away.

He walked me to my door. No one else was in the hall right now. I was kinda glad.

“With the exception of Dwyer being there, I had a nice time with you.” He said caressing my cheek.

“I had a fun time with you too.” I said savoring his touch.

This was rare and happy moment for me. He was hardly ever soft and sensitive. He was usually rough, rowdy, loud, aggressive, and a little of a jerk.

But when It was just him and I, he was someone else entirely. He was sweet, sensitive, a little shy, calm, everything he wanted to say to me, I could get in just a little touch from him.

He smiled and leaned down slightly. I leaned up a little. And with that we kissed. His lips fit mine perfectly, he moved his so slowly, and softly. He was always so gentile with me, probably because he’s seen what my dad has done to me. But I kinda liked it.

I would never tell him this, otherwise he’d be even more protective and gentile with me, but he’s the only one who can hurt me.

I never felt pain from anyone else since I was about seven or eight. When we fought last year, about me leaving for the summer, every punch he threw, every time he threw me against the wall, I felt it. I felt the pain corse through me. Almost like a drug. And I loved that feeling. I hadn’t felt it in so long, I think I became addicted.

but just the way that he’d treat me so delicately, it was so nice. He did love me. And that’s why I felt the pain when I did. That’s why he’s always so gentile with me everyday. And the fact that I could feel the pain he gave me. . . .

“I love you.” I breathed when we broke away.

He looked almost shocked to hear that, but he smiled.

“You mean it?” He asked holding my face in his rough hands lightly.

I nodded, “I do, Shawn. I really had to think about it, but I do. Or at least, I think I do. I mean, I feel so different towards you than all the other guys. I- I really think I do, so. I love you.”

He kissed me gently again and pulled away smiling.

He kissed my temple, and mumbled against my hair, “Good night, angel baby.”

He left. I stayed out there for a couple seconds just smiling to myself.

I went in my room and closed the door. I slid down my door, like I did the first day I heard him say it to me. The day we had our brawl. He loves me, he loves me. And no longer did I have to a pull a flower form a ground and ask, does he love me?, does he love me not?

Back Story(Alex Dwyer and Christina Waywater Taps Story)

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Alex’s pov.

Some lady just moved in next door to me. My dad told me to be nice, that lady was one of his old war friends. I didn’t get it. Only guys were supposed to be soldiers.

She came over for dinner that night. She seemed nice enough. I was still wondering why she was in the army and why she moved in next door alone. A woman around her age has to be married and have kids. I didn’t ask about it though. I didn’t want my dad to back hand me again.

“So Marria.” My father asked her, “What brings you to this sleepy part of town?”

“It’s David, John.” She began, “I found he’s abusive. My daughter mainly, but he’s not afraid to hurt me. The only reason why she’s not with me right now is because of the contract from the divorce.”

“I never figured he’d be abusive.” Mom chimed in.

“I never thought so either.” Marria continued, “But I found some bruises on Christina and asked her about them. It broke my heart to see her cry as she answered. She’s so sweet too. An awfully nice girl. Hardly five. And now she’s in that house getting thrown around by the man I called my husband.”

“Have you tried anything to get her?” Dad asked.

She nodded, “I’ve tried numerous times. Honestly. But he’s the one with the power and money and connections. He says to everyone that she’s mentally ill too. She isn’t. Christina is gifted. Her art work is breath-taking.”

“Is there anyway you can get her full-time?” Mom asked.

She shook her head, “I have a good lawyer helping me. But so far I only get her for the summers, every other Christmas, and when ever her father leaves and doesn’t want her for a while.”

“That’s horrible.” Mom told her.

“The one bright side is that she’s coming at the end of the week and staying until the end of the summer.” Marria continued, “He’s leaving for a trip and can’t take her with him.”

“One good thing to come from this is that David doesn’t care enough about Christina to keep her in his sights all the time.” Dad told her.

“I suppose.” She said.

“Maybe Christina and Alex could have a play date when she comes.” Mom said.

I froze eating my dessert. Not a chance in hell I was going to be playing with a little abused girl who’s covered in bruises, when I could be at the park playing baseball or something with my friends.

“That sounds like an amazing idea.” Marria said.

“I’m not playin’ with her.” I told them not looking up from my cake.

“What was that Alex?” My dad almost demanded.

“I’m not playing dress up with a little girl.” I told him trying to be respectful, “She’s not even my age.”

“Christina’s only a year younger than you are Alex.” Marria told me, “But her birthday is in September. So she’s not five yet. And if I may tell you, her favorite games consist of chess and make-believe war games. Where you run around shooting each other.”

“Alex,” Dad said to me, “You don’t have to become best friends with Christina, but you need to at least be nice to the girl.”

I couldn’t fall asleep that night. Why do I need to be nice to a girl? Why do I need to play with one? I was dreading the end of the week, and the summer.

Christina’s pov.

Father drove me to mama’s new house. When I stepped out, it was a decent sized house. Light yellow, lot’s of windows, so there was lots of light. I nice garden, a small porch. It had a homey feel that was lacking at Father’s house.

“Here.” He said roughly and dumped my bags on the sidewalk.

“Thank you, sir.” I said quietly as he started away.

I threw my backpack over my shoulder and rolled my suite case over to the porch and up the steps. Mama was at the doorway as I came up the stairs.

She smiled warmly and wrapped me in a motherly hug. I missed her so much. But I knew why she left, and what was going on. I knew, and I wanted to be with my mama, not my father.

“I’ve missed you honey.” She told me.

“I’ve missed you too mama.” I told her.

She took my hand and suite case and brought me inside.

“Do you like it?” She asked, “I got it because it had a nice kitchen, I figured the basement we could turn into a playroom for you. Your room’s upstairs, I painted it lavender for you. I set it up too. Once your settled in come outside and see the back yard, it’s beautiful. Christina, are you hurt anywhere?” She said all at once.

“I love it mama. Thank you. And I’m fine, he didn’t mark me up very much this time.” I told her with a reassuring smile.

“Are you hungry?” She asked calm now.

“A little.” I told her.

“I’ll make you something. Your room’s upstairs, down the hall on your right, third door on your left.” She told me and kissed my temple.

I smiled as she disappeared into the kitchen. I went up the stairs and followed her directions.

My room was a lavender colour, white trim. I had a double bed with light blue checkered sheets and comforter. A small desk in front of the window, white, lacy curtains on it. There were two doors in my room. I opened the first and saw that it was a large walk in closet. I put my suite case and back pack in there and left the door open as I left and opened the other door. It was my own personal bathroom. A large soalker tub with move able shower head. Toilet, and a sink with lots of counter space and cabinets underneath. The walls were pale blue.

I loved my room. I went back to the closet and started to unpack. When I was happy with the placement of everything I left and closed the door behind me. Mama had set up a bookshelf with some books and pictures. I wanted to be just like her. A brave solider with honor.

I opened the curtains to see what my view was like. I think it was a bad idea. When I pulled them apart a blond haired boy was sitting at his desk, which was right in front of his window, staring out the window. And now at me. We held a staring contest for a minute or two before I was broken from the trance of his blue eyes by mama calling me. I closed the curtains and went back downstairs.

Alex’s pov.

I was sitting in my desk trying to come up with an illness or something that would make my parents not play with a girl. I was staring straight ahead, just thinking.

Then out of no where a little girl opened the curtains of the window parallel to mine. We held a staring contest for a moment. I was captivated by her hypnotizing green eyes. She closed the curtains and I guess she left. I think that was Marria’s daughter. I wasn’t sure. But she did have the same brown hair as she did, but her eyes. They were completely different.

Maybe she inherited her father’s eyes. No, it wasn’t the colour of the eyes that threw me off. It was what they showed. She was so sad, like she was abused. Like she’d never be happy in a million years. I wondered what man could do something so bad to a little girl that makes her look like that.

Christina’s pov.

I happily ate my cut green apple, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and glass of chocolate milk. My mother wasn’t the best cook in the world. In fact, she can’t really cook at all. In the army she was a field doctor. I never had a nac for medicine. But she made a good sandwich.

“Honey, I have something I want to tell you.” She said, I looked at her my mouth full, “I have an old friend who lives next door. He has a son. And what we were thinking is maybe you and him could play together tomorrow. Does that sound good?”

I thought for a second. It couldn’t be that bad.

I nodded.

“That’s great, honey.” She told me, “Really.”

Alex’s pov.

It was the day after she came. My parents told me to be nice and well-behaved. Also to be gentle. ‘Girls are fragile’, that’s what my mom told be as the door rang. My older sister already left.

“Hello Marria.” My dad said, “And this lovely young lady must be Christina.”

“Hello, John.” Marria said, “Thank you for doing this.”

“No problem, please come in.” He said.

A moment later Marria was standing in our living room with the same girl from the other day hiding behind her leg.

“Alex, Cassie.” She began, trying to get the girl to move forward, “This is Christina.”

“Hello their honey.” My mother said extending her hand to her.

Christina just hid a little more behind her mother. Mom took her hand back and pushed me forward a little.

“Christina, this is my son, Alex.” She told them.

I looked right at her. Our eyes locked again in a staring contest. My blue eyes staring into her sad green ones, and her green ones staring into my determined blue ones. We were brought out of this by my dad.

“Looks like Alex and Christina are hitting it off.”

Our mothers laughed, I made a face, and Christina hid again.

“Why don’t you two go up to Alex’s room?” My mom said, more as an order then a suggestion.

I motioned for her to follow me and she did. I closed the door behind her. I sat on my bed and she sat on the floor next to my bed. She took out this string thing and started wrapping it around her fingers to create shapes.

“What are you doing?” I asked her.

She looked up at me and replied meekly, “Cat’s cradle.”

I nodded. We sat in silence for a while. She continued with her little game.

“Why aren’t you wearing a dress like most girls?” I asked realizing now that she was wearing worn out jeans and a grey sweat shirt that was way too big for her.

She looked at me again and swallowed before saying with a shaking voice, “Why would I want to wear a dress when I have a perfectly good pair of jeans?”

“Your weird.” I told her.

“I know.” She replied so quietly I almost didn’t hear her.

“Anything you want to do?” I asked. I don’t know why but I felt this need to stop the silence.

She shook her head, “Anything you would like to do?”

“You’re the guest,” I told her, “Your choice.”

“I’m okay with whatever.” She said and shrugged.

“Tell me something about yourself.” I said as I laid down on my bed.

“What do you want to know?” She asked sounding defensive.

“Anything you want to tell.” I told her.

“My favorite colour is purple. What about you?”

“I like green. Anything else.”

“I like fries. You?”

“Pizza. What do you hate?”

“Clowns.” She said plainly.

“Clowns?” I asked sitting up in disbelief. Christina nodded.

“How?”

“They’re evil.” She said, “What about you, what do you hate?”

“Asparagus. Anything else.”

“I love the winter.”

“Really?” She nodded, “I like the spring.”

“Why spring?” She asked.

“It’s fresh, it’s new. It’s pretty. Why winter?”

“A white blanket of snow covers everything. Everything is white and clean, the air is still. Looking out the window, the world looks so peaceful. And the the chill of the wind it’s refreshing.”

“I never thought about it like that.” I said, “What’s your favorite hobby?”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why do you want to know?” She asked looking at my rug.

“I just don’t like the weird silence that’s between us. I figured questions could help.” I told her.

“I appreciate your gesture to try and get to know me a little because our parents are forcing us to play together. Honestly. Not a lot of people talk to me, or even look at me. But I think it’s best we remain as we were before.” She told me.

“Why?” I asked her, “Everyone needs a friend.”

She looked at me. Her eyes were so cold, so emotionless, so empty, I was almost lost in them again.

“I’m abused at home.” She said staring me dead in the eye not flinching at all, “No one wants to associate with me once they see a couple of bruises and a busted lip. No one wants to talk to you when you’re a girl but you act like a boy. And why would I want a friend when my father got so drunk one night, that he burst into my room smacked me around so hard there are dents in my walls. And ripped to pieces the only thing I considered my friend. I can’t risk having a person as a friend when I couldn’t protect a toy.”

I just sat there staring at her for a minute. She didn’t look away. She didn’t flinch. But instead she let me look deep into her eyes and see all the pain and suffering and hate she had. I couldn’t understand how so much negativity could exist in one person. Let alone one little girl.

Christina looked away and continued with her cat’s-cradle. I just kept looking at the back of her head. There was no way that she could be going through this.

Christina’s pov.

I was up in Alex’s room for about an hour or so before we were called downstairs by Mr. Dwyer. I stood up and Alex followed. He led the way down stairs and I followed silently.

“Are you two having fun?” Mrs. Dwyer asked.

Alex glanced at me for a second then shrugged. I just stood there.

“Why don’t you two go outside and play?” Mr. Dywer suggested.

We both shrugged and walked outside. There wasn’t much to do in his room anyway.

I sat in a corner on the porch and continued with my game. Alex walked around a little like he was pacing. Then he sat down and stared at me again. I was aware of it the first time around. I just didn’t want to say anything.

“Hey Alex!”

Alex’s pov.

“Hey Alex!” Someone called.

Max, Nick, and Johnny came running up to me.

“Hey what’s up?” I asked when they reached the porch.

“They’re giving away free ice cream a couple blocks away! Come on man! If we don’t go now it’ll be all gone!” Nick said out of breath.

“Are you kidding that’s awesome!” I exclaimed as I started to run off the porch, “That’s amazing! We have to- I-I. I can’t.”

“What?” They all asked together.

“I can’t.” I told them again stuffing my hands in my pockets.

“Why?” Johnny asked.

I motioned over to Christina who was still in the corner. She looked like she never heard them in the first place.

“My parents want me to play with her. I can’t.” I said.

“Pick me up chocolate vanilla swirl cone if it’s not too much to ask.” I heard her say.

I turned to look at her. She looked over her shoulder at me.

“I won’t tell.” She said sincerely, “Go have fun with your friends.”

I looked at her a minute, ignoring my friends calling me. I bit my lip then lunged forward and grabbed her wrist hauling her up next to me.

“You’re coming too.” I told her and pulled her off the porch after me.

“Why?” She asked, “It’s okay.”

“Just come on.” I hissed and pulled her more.

“Alright.” She said as we were on the side-walk, “Just please, let go. It hurts.”

“Sorry.” I mumbled and let go of her wrist. I didn’t want to lose her so I kept holding on to her sleeve.

The guys were talking about the flavors they’d get. I wasn’t paying any attention. I think Christina was shaking. I grabbed her hand and held it as we crossed the streets. I don’t know why. But I felt like I had to. She wasn’t even five yet.

When we got there it was swamped. We managed to push our way inside.

“What flavor did you want?” I asked her.

Christina’s pov.

“What flavor did you want?” Alex asked me.

“Chocolate and vanilla swirl please.” I replied.

One of his friends loudly announced;

“I’ll have four double chocolate chips, three bubble gums, five mint chocolate chips, one cookie dough, and two chocolate vanilla swirls!”

The lady behind the counter rolled her eyes but filled it anyway.

A mint chocolate chip and a chocolate and vanilla swirl was pushed into my hands. Alex motioned for me to follow him. I did as best I could.

When I got outside they were sitting on a bench eating their ice cream.

“Thank you.” I told them.

“No problem.” They replied mouths full of ice cream.

I licked mine slowly. I almost never got it. And if felt really nice on my swelling cheek.

“Something wrong with her?” One of the guys asked.

“Not sure.” Alex told them.

“You gonna eat that?” Another asked pointing to my untouched mint chocolate chip cone.

I held it out to him and he excepted it greatfuly.

Alex’s pov.

“So who is this girl anyway?” Nick asked a little discussed.

“Daughter of a friend of my dad’s that moved in next door.” I told him, “She isn’t really a problem. She doesn’t really say much. A little weird. But I guess it’s to be expected.”

“She is a girl.” Johnny said after finishing the ice cream Christina gave him.

“Do you guys think it’s okay to be talking about her like that when she’s right there?” Max asked bringing up a good point.

I shrugged, “Doubt it.”

Then I turned to Christina and asked, “Does what we’re saying bother you?”

She looked at me a second and replied, “It’s your conversation, I have no part in it unless you ask my opinion. What you’re saying doesn’t concern me, because it’s not for me to decide. You’re the ones talking amongst yourselves, you’re not talking to me.”

And then she went back to her ice cream.

I looked back at the guys and shrugged.

Times skip three weeks—->>>>>

I was playing base-ball with Max, Nick, and Johnny. My parents and Marria asked if I could take Christina to the park. I held her hand the entire way here and walked her to the place she wanted to start at.

I don’t know why, but I’m starting to look at her like she’s my little sister now. The night after we went to get ice cream, we were going to bed at the same time. I picked up a note pad and a marker and wrote on it ‘sweet dreams’, she smiled slightly but sadly. Then she wrote on another pad she had and it read, ‘you 2 goodnight’.

After that I felt like I had to look out for her. I got her to play with me a little but not a lot. She was abused and was scared to get close to me after all. I couldn’t really blame her. I left her at the swing set where she wanted to be. Told her where I was going to be.

She’s a real sweet girl get to know her. Smart too.

I was pitching when I heard a few kids run towards the play ground area. I stopped one that was running by me.

“What’s goin’ on?” I asked.

“The neighbourhood bully, Tommy.” He said, “Him and his gang are in a fight with someone by the swings.”

I froze for a second. There wasn’t a chance. No they wouldn’t.

I took off running as fast as my legs could carry me to the swings.

When I got there was a large crowd around the fight. I had to push my way through. And I was amazed by what I saw.

Sweet little Christina, quiet, innocent, smart. Abused to the point where she can’t hurt a fly. Was beating the living shit out of the toughest guy in the neighbourhood right now.

Tommy Williamson, was ten. Four years older than I am. And then a little girl, who’s six years younger than him has successfully knocked his front teeth out.

One came up behind her ans she whirled around and got him so bad in the stomach he fell to the ground.

All of them got up and took off running. Christina didn’t have a scratch on her. She was a little dirty, but she was fine.

“Are you okay?” I asked scurrying up to her and quickly checking her over.

“I’m fine don’t worry.” She told me smiling. Well her mouth didn’t move from neutral, but her eyes showed a lot of happiness.

“You sure?” I asked.

“Alex!” The guys cried behind me finally catching up. I was a pretty fast runner push comes to shove.

“Yeah?” I asked looking over my shoulder.

“Was, was she-. Did she?” Max struggled to ask.

“He came over here telling me to get off, and tell him his name and everything. I refused and he got mad. I decided it was best for me to teach him and his friends a few manors.” Christina said unfazed.

“What the hell are you?” Johnny asked.

“Pardon?” She asked.

“What the hell are you?” Johnny repeated, “Your four, your abused, and you’re a little girl! What the hell are you that fights, that wears jeans, that never says anything, and that is too freaking polite?”

He was starting to get mad.

“I am Christina May Rose Ebenthein.” She told them, “I’m one of a kind. And I apologize that you do not like me. But if you’d prefer me to die or disappear, then I’m afraid that you’ll have to take a number and get in line.”

Was this her way of being mouthy? I asked myself. Sure sounds like it from her.

“Go to hell.” Nick said.

“Come on Alex.” Max told me.

They turned and walked away but stopped and turned back.

“Come on Alex.” Max repeated annoyed.

I didn’t move.

“So, what?” Nick asked, “Your going to stay with that thing, over your friends?”

I still didn’t move but I did say, “If you guys were really my friends you’d understand why I want to keep Christian around.”

“It’s either her or us man.” Max said.

I looked at them then at Christina. Her eyes were mostly blank but I could see some anticipation in the wanting to know who I’d choose.

I looked back at my friends. The crowd had long since left.

“Come on.” I said, “Let’s go get a soda.”

I turned around and gently grabbed Christina’s hand and lead her away.

If they didn’t want to be near Christina then that was their problem. Not mine. I would keep her safe and be her only friend then. I’d do anything for her now.

Time Skip One Year—–»»»»»»

I was sitting on the front steps waiting for Christina to be dropped off. Her father was doing it again. But on the bright side, I got to see her again.

Over the summer her and I became extremely good friends. She’s really nice, and smart, and sweet, and funny, and everything. She’s like the little sister I never had. I even got her to smile, better than that I think I’m the only one who can make her laugh. I still the hurt and sadness in her eyes though. I try to keep that away by keeping her intreaged and happy.

“She’s not gonna come any faster by you watching the road.” My sister Tracey said to me.

“What do you know?” I hissed to her.

“That someone broke the window to old man’s Ingburg’s place.” She teased.

“And I know that someone has been sneaking out in the middle of the night to go and make out with her boyfriend.” I retorted.

She sneered at me and walked inside. It was way too hot for her. Figures.

I found it amusing that even though we were raised to be proper and lady or gentlemen-like, she was still a slut. If dad ever saw what she really wears to school or out with friends, he would kill her. His little special girl. He would kill.

See, she does her own laundry. So that’s part of the reason why no one has found out yet. She wears mini skirts or short-shorts under her decent lengthen skirt, and a tight shirt or one that’s too revealing under her blouse. It made me sick to know that was my sister. Christina thought any girl who was like that was the most unholy thing that ever walked this earth next to the devil.

I saw a black corvet pull up to the side of the road. Christina got out, so did her father. I only knew what he looked like because of a picture that she had before she tore it up. She waited patiently by the side as he pulled out two suitcases and a back pack.

He said something to her and she nodded. He got back into the car and drove off. The second he was out of sight I was at her side.

“Hey Chrissy.” I said wrapping her in a hug.

“Hi Alex.” She said back.

“Want help?” I offered.

“If you wanna.” She said.

I picked up both of her suitcases and she carried her back pack.

“Why two this time?” I asked as we walked up the stairs to her front door.

She turned smiled at me and said, “I’m staying until after Christmas.” She squealed, “I’m going to go to school out here!”

“Really?” I asked. I couldn’t believe it.

She nodded, “Uh huh. He’s going on another business trip tomorrow and wont be back until the new year.”

“That’s awesome.” I told her.

“Hi honey.” Marria said as we came in.

“Hi mama.” She said and embraced her mom.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and get settled.” Marria suggested, “I’ll make lunch for you two.”

We both nodded and went upstairs to Christina’s room. Along the way I was telling her everything that we would do over the summer and the time she was here.

“We’re going to go fishing, and camping. My uncle owns a ranch just outside of town so we go horse back ridding and help out with animals. I remember you saying that you like them.” We got into her room, “My dad’s coming home so maybe he’ll tell us stories about where he was and how it was and everything. My mom’s also got a friend who owns a berry farm, and she said that if we help pick them then we get some for free. I know you like razzberries so I thought about you immediately. Isn’t it cool?”

I stopped realizing that she was still yet shaking.

“Chrisa, everything okay?” I asked like I was talking to an injured animal.

She turned around to face me and tears were streaming down her face. She lunged towards me and wrapped her arms around my waist.

“It hurts Alex.” She said sobbing into my chest, “It hurts.”

I wrapped my arms around her and stroked her hair.

“It’s okay honey.” I told her, “He’s not going to hurt you anymore. I promise. So long as your here, nothing will hurt you.”

We stayed like that for a while. Her crying. Me comforting her. When she calmed down enough she pulled away and wiped away her tears.

“Thank you.” She said quietly, “And Alex, please don’t tell mama about this.”

I nodded.

She put her suit cases in her closet claiming she’ll do it later. Then we went down stairs for lunch.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mutilated cut green apple, and milk. I prefered Marria’s sandwiches over my mom’s, but both me and Christina agreed my mom was the better cook.

While she tried to be that good mother, they ended up ordering in most nights.

When we were done we went outside to play.

Christina’s pov.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you.” Alex told me.

“What?” I asked.

“This summer, my parents agreed with your mom that the fence should come down.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, then we’ll have a lot more room to play in and they say it’ll help our friendship.” He told me.

“Cool.” I told him, “Maybe we could use the wood to make a tree fort or something.” I suggested.

“That’d be really cool.” He said, “Let’s figure out which tree to make it in.”

“Yeah.”

We scrambled around both yards saying what was good and bad about each tree for the fort. We decided on the large oak that was in his yard but it’s branches reached out and brought shade to my yard. It was perfect.

Fast froward one year——>>>>>>

“I don’t know.”I told mama, “What if he’s just like father?”

“Honey.” Mama said, “I’m not going to do that to you again. He’s a very nice man. He’s actually the lawyer that’s helping me get you full-time and show everyone David isn’t a good father.”

“But what if it’s deja vu?” I asked her.

“We aren’t married.” She told me, “And I wouldn’t be introducing you if I had even the slightest thought that it might be.”

Mama just told me that she had a boyfriend and she wanted to introduce me to him. I haven’t really trusted any guys, Nother than Alex, because of my father. I hate him. And I’m always scared that it’ll be just like that again and again.

We pulled up to our house and got out. She helped me with my suitcases and unpacked for me as I sat on my bed. She was telling me about him.

“His name’s Michel.” She said, “He’s an amazing lawyer. He’s actually quite active. He enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, and he’s really handy around the house as well. I thought maybe he could help you and Alex build that tree house this summer.”

We couldn’t build the tree fort last summer because a lot of parts of the wood was rotting. So Mr. Dwyer said that he’d get some for us to build with next summer.

“He has a couple of friends that were in the war.” She continued, “In fact we have quite a few mutual friends from wars.”

I stared out my window. Alex wasn’t there. I still heard everything she said, but I didn’t really care.

“Alex met him.” Mama said. My head whipped around and I stared at her.

“He seems to like him.” She continued, “I asked him to talk to Michel to see if he thought you’d like him.”

She turned and looked at me.

“I’ve told him a lot about you, Christina.” She told me, “He really wants to meet you. And after I told him you were coming for the summer he’s even more dedicated to winning you full time. He knows your abused. And if he could I know he’d kill your father.”

I just stared at her. Why would she tell him about me? Why does he care so much about me even though we’ve never spoken a word?

Mama came over and sat next to me. She put her arm around me and said, “Michel is like your father, Christina. He can’t have children, and if can it’ll be hard. He came from an abusive house too. And he doesn’t want someone so sweet like yourself to go through wheat he did. Michel, he wants to be you father honey. He wants you to be his little girl.”

I looked down. No one’s ever wanted me, with the exception of Alex and mama. Why?

“Why?” I asked her.

“That your going to have to ask him yourself.” She said and kissed my forehead.

“Where’s Alex?” I asked.

“Oh,” She said in surprise, “He went with his mom and sister to the mall for some new cloths.”

I nodded.

Alex’s pov.

Tracey was taking forever. I already had everything picked out. She spent so long. And I knew she was doing this just to bug me.

“I don’t like this skirt.” She complained.

“Then why did you pick it up?” I asked.

“It looked cuter on the hanger.” She said.

I rolled my eyes.

“What’s the matter Alex?” She teased, “Scared your not going to have enough time to spend with your girlfriend?”

“Yes, actually.” I hissed.

I had given up long ago about arguing with her that Christina wasn’t my girlfriend. She was a girl and she was my friend. I guess she is then.

“Oh, my that’s right.” Mom said, “Christina’s coming home today isn’t she?”

I nodded.

“Tracey honey, please hurry up.” She encuraged.

“But mom there isn’t anything I like.” She told her.

“Then we’ll have to come back another day.” She told her, “Come on. Unless you like something, we’re leaving.”

She huffed. She knew she was defeated. She never really liked Christina, I didn’t know why though.

The check out line and the drive home seemed to take forever. Finally we were home. I jumped out of the car and was about to rush up to Christina’s room knowing she’d be there when I was stopped.

“Alex, take your cloths up to your room, put them away, then you can play with Christina.” My mom said.

I grumbled as I picked out a few bags from the trunk, brought them inside, sorted out my cloths from the few that Tracey picked out, brought them upstairs to my room, folded and neatly put them away. When I closed my drawer for the last time I took off running down stairs. I yelled to my mom:

“I’m going to see Christina, be back later.” I said quickly as I sprinted out the door and into the back yard.

She wasn’t there. So went up to the back door and opened it stepping in. We had this open door thing. We could walk in and yell ‘hi’ or whatever and it would be fine. But this was only in effect when Christina was here.

“Christina!” I called, “Marria? Anybody here?”

“Alex!” Christina yelled bounding down the stairs and ran to me.

“Hey, how are you?” I asked hugging her.

“Better. You?” She smiled brightly.

“Same.”

“Hi Alex.” Marria said joining us in the living room.

“Hi Marria.” I said.

“Come on.” Christina said pulling me downstairs to the basement.

We sorta helped turn it into a play room. It was really cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. We had a lot of sleep overs in here.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

“You met mama’s new boyfriend?” She asked concerned.

“Yeah I did.” I told her, “She wanted me to, too see if you’d like him. I really think you would given the chance.”

She shook her head.

“I know your scared, but he’s a really nice guy.” I told her.

She shrugged.

“He’s nothing like your father Christina.” I told her, “He’s really nice. He’s smart, he has a lot of ways to have fun, and he can cook.”

She looked at me weird.

“Yeah I know. I did the same thing, but it’s true.” I told her, ” He’s a great guy. He’s fighting to have you here all the time.”

“I know.” She said solomly, “I just don’t think I can except it.”

“Why not?” I asked her.

She didn’t say anything. She just rolled up her sweatshirt sleeve past her elbow so I could see a bruise larger then an orange taking up most of her upper arm.

“Your dad?” I asked.

She nodded.

“He wont do anything like, Chrisa.” I told her, “You gotta believe me.”

Christina just looked down shifting from one foot to the other uncomfortably.

“If it’ll help,” I offered, “When you meet him I’ll be right next to you the entire time.”

She smiled and nodded. I think it was only ever me and her mom that could get her to do that.

Three days later—->>>

Christina’s pov.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, Alex by my side. Michel was coming over for me to meet him.

As he promised, Alex was right next to me right now, and he would be until he left.

I faintly heard a car pull up and the slam of the door. Footsteps leading up to the front door. I had sensitive hearing, it was good when I had a father like mine. I could hear exactly where he is at all times. It was like my own adaptation.

The door bell rang, mama went to answer it. I held Alex’s hand under the table. I was starting to get the same feeling I get when my father is about to beat me again.

“Hello, Marria.” A gentle, yet aged, but kind vice said softly.

“Hello Michel.” Mama said, I heard them kiss, “Please come in. They’re in the kitchen.”

I heard foot steps and the door close. I gripped Alex’s hand tighter, he squeased back to reasure me.

“Hello Alex.” A man about fourty-ish said coming in. He had a weathered face and hands. He was dressed in kahki shorts and a hawiian shirt. Everything about him said kind, strong, and reliable. And then there was this air about him I felt when he came in the room, I couldn’t put my finger on what. But I liked it. I never felt it at my father’s house.

“And this lovely young lady must be, Christina am I correct?” He asked politely.

I nodded.

“It’s nice to see you again, Michel.” Alex said.

“Please Michel sit down.” Mama said coming into the room, “Can I get you anything?”

“Just some lemonade please.” He said.

“And for you two?” She asked.

“Lemonade please.” We said together.

She smiled and got out a couple of glasses.

“You’re just like your mother described, Christina.” He said.

I leaned back into my chair a little more.

“She also told about your lack of trust in everyone.” He told me, “I understand you being uncomfortable with me. And I know your mother has tried to express my good qualities, and tell you how I will never harm you like your father.”

“She also said that you came from a home like me.” I said quietly.

Mama set the lemonade in front of us.

He nodded, “The only thing is that it was both of my parents who abused me. And now I specalize in cases like yours.”

“Mentally ill children needing to be kept with one parent the majority of the time because the other parent is ‘unfit’ to take care of the child’s special needs, and is now abused and nothing can be done about it because he can just say I did it to myself?” I asked seriusly.

“No quite.” He said trying not to laugh.

“Mike, she’s seriuse.” Alex told him.

“Your mother never mentioned that.” He said.

“I’m not, but she’s also purtrayed as mental too because she was field doctor way back when.” I said.

“That I am awear of.” He said, “Your mother also said you wanted to be a solider when your older.”

I nodded.

“That’s a very nice career path.” He said, “I have a quite a few friends who pursued that.”

I nodded.

This was starting to get awkward.

“How close are you to getting me home full time?” I asked out of the blue.

“Pardon?” He asked.

“How. Close. Are. You. To. Getting. Me. Home. Full. Time.?” I repeated slower and louder.

“I’m quite close.” He said, “I just a witness or true evidence that shows your father isn’t suitable to have you.”

I blinked and pulled up my t-shirt sleeve to reveal the bruise I had showed Alex the other day.

“He gave me that just before mama came to get me.” I told him.

He smiled and nodded. I knew what he was thinking. And I started to trust him a little.

Fast forward two years —->>>>

I was trying not to cry as my father flew down the road to drop me off. He was verbaly abusing me right now. He was finished with smacking me around, throwing me against things, punching and kicking me.

He roughly pulled up to the side of the house. He opened my door and threw me out. He had already gotten my bags for me, he was beyond pissed.

“Bitch.” He hissed as he kicked me one more time and drove off.

I tried to stand up with little luck. Alex, was at a school camp for a couple more days. I was in too much pain to care right now.

“Christina?” Michel exclaimed coming out.

He ran over to me and brought me into a hug.

“Shuu,” He cooed, “It’s alright.” He said rubbing my back trying to comfort me.

“He isn’t going to hurt you anymore, Christina.” He told me.

“Daddy.” I croaked out.

He just looked at me.

“Daddy.” I repeated.

“It’s alright honey.” He told me, “Daddy’s here.”

He carried me in and sat me on the couch. Making sure I was alright until mama got home. When she did, she first off had a freak out attack running around wondering what to do. Then she finally calmed down enough to look me over.

She bathed me, put medicen on the cuts and bruises that I had. She had me take some orally in case I had some internal bleeding or something. Put me to bed, and said that in the morning she’d take me to the doctor.

When I woke up the next morning I felt awful. It hurt to move. I began to cry again. It hurt too much. I couldn’t stop crying.

Michel came into my room a little while after I woke up.

“How are you feeling, Christina?” He asked gingerly.

“It hurts.” I sobbed.

“It’s alright.” He said, “We’re going to take you to see the doctor today.”

I sniffed but nodded.

“Do you want me to get your mother?” He asked.

I shook my head.

“Would you mind if I ask you something, Christina?” He asked.

I shrugged but them whinnced in pain.

“Did you mean what you said to me yesterday?” He asked, “When you called me ‘Daddy’?”

“Do you not want me to?” I asked him trying not to cry anymore.

“I would be honnored if you did.” He said and oh so gently wiped away my tears.

“I’m going to tell your mom your awake, alright.” He said.

I nodded, and he left.

I looked through the white lacey curtains that hung over my window. Alex still wasn’t here yet. Tomorrow afternoon some time he would be. I just hope that I’d be okay by then.

Mama came in and checked a few things. Then she got me dressed and we left.

Alex’s pov.

I was on the bus ride home from camp. I didn’t know why Christina didn’t want to go. She got to skip a grade so she’s with me. But I couldn’t force her. I knew she was home for a couple days before I came home. But I wanted to surprise her. I made her an anklet while I was there.

We were working on makromay and beading and knots and stuff. I practiced a lot and finally made a beaded makromay strand that I tied with a friendship knot.

I was cradling it in my hands the entire way home. I couldn’t wait to see her face when I gave it to her.

When I got off the bus my mom came running up to me.

“Alex it’s horrible.” Was her first words to me.

“What is?” I asked. By the look on her face she was scared.

She took my hand and pulled me to the car.

“Christina.” She began as my dad was throwing my bag into the trunk, “When she came home the other day, it turns out that her father beat her savagley before dropping her off.”

She put me in the back seat and got in the passenger side. Dad was already to go and started the car as soon as the door was shut.

“Marria and Michel brought her to the hospital and it turns out she has so much internal bleeding.” She was trying to to cry. As this explanation progressed my heart kept falling. Christina was my best friend. She never judged, she was always polite, she was smart, so sweet. How her father could do something like that.

“They had to give her a couple operations to stop the bleeding.” Mom continued, “Right now she’s in recovery. But we don’t know.”

That’s when I got scared. You don’t know? Meaning,

“What’s going to happen to Christina?” I croaked trying not to cry.

“We don’t know son.” My dad told me, “The thing is Christina’s a lot smaller then a seven year old girl should be. Acording to the doctors there was so much blood that poured into her body. The medicen that her mom gave her helped slow it down a little. But as of right now she’s recovering. The doctor’s say it doesn’t look too good.”

Silent tears started to fall from my eyes.

“That’s not possible.” I croaked, my voice way cracking as I remembered that bubbly, happy, sweet, and energetice seven year old I called my best friend. She was strong. She always said it hurt, but when ever she cried it was never for long. She was so strong.

“Did I raise a man or did I raise a wimp?” My dad asked, “Wipe those tears away son. She would want you to cry for her.”

He was right. But I couldn’t help it. I wiped them away regardless. The doctors said that’s what it looks like. They don’t know her. She’s going to make it.

“She’s going to make it.” I repeated out loud to reasure myself.

When we got to the hospital we were aloud right in. I almost died seeing her like that.

She was hooked up to everything. A heart monitor, and iv, a breathing thing, everything. I think I just glided across the floor over to her bed side. I don’t remember moving from my spot from in between my parents. But the next thing I knew I was her side holding her hand.

“Your gonna be okay, Christa.” I told her, “You have to be. We got plans. We’re going to go to school when we’re twelve to become soldiers like our parents. We-we’re going to become lutenints, captains, majors, or colonels even. We’re gonna grow up and get married. Have kids, name each other the God parents. You still got life, Christa. You can’t die, and you wont. You-you gotta prove to you father that no matter what he does to you he can’t hurt you. This isn’t gonna keep you down long, Chris. It can’t. I can’t live without you, Chris. Your my best friend. What am I supposed to do?”

“Stop crying like a little girl, for starters.”

Christina’s pov.

I heard Alex telling me why I can’t die, what I still have to live for. And what we was supposed to do with out me.

“Stop crying like a little girl, for starters.” I said.

I slowly opened my eyes to see him staring at me with tears in his eyes.

“I’m not gonna die yet, my friend.”I asured him, “You even said it yourself, I got too much a head of me not to keep going forward now.”

“Your okay?” He asked.

“I can’t feel anything.” I told him.

“D-does that m-mean your a vegetable?” He asked like he was going to cry again.

I shook my head, “I can fell everything, Alex.” I told him, “But I can’t feel the pain anymore.”

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“I can feel every part of my body. I can feel your hand in mine.” I explained, “But I can’t feel the pain that I was in when my father dropped me off.”

“But your okay?” He asked again.

“I think so.” I told him smiling.

He smiled back a little hesitently.

I was telling the truth. I can’t feel any pain right now. It might be the anastisia though.

The doctor came in with mama and Daddy and told everyone what was wrong.

It would be a mirricla if I ever felt anything again. I was perfectly healthy though. The only thing that would be noticable would be the extreamly faint lines that covered my body. He said that that was my nervuse system. It aparently, after years of so much pain, imploded then expanded. And somehow, although faint, they became pressed right up against my skin. He said I’d have it forever.

I had to stay here a week or so but then I’d be fine. I was a little sad. I’d have to be quarenteaned for about a week. Then I’d have to take it easy.

So this summer was basicely thrown.

Time Skip five years—>>>

We were in our tree fort talking. We were going to be attending Bunker Hill Acadamey at the end of the summer. We were on our way to becoming soldiers. Daddy somehow managed to make my father pull a few strings so I could attend as well. It just meant that My tuition was about twice as high.

“Are you sure we should do this?” I asked for the thousandth time.

“It might be the only way.” Alex said.

I nodded.

“This is our promise,” I started.

“No matter what happens throughout our years that the Acadimey” Alex continued.

“We will always be..”

“Best friends.” We finished together.

And with that we each took our left hand, that was now wet and sticky, and we shook hands.

Bunker Hill was ahead of us now. We have no idea what was to come from it. It might make our friendship stronger, it might test our bounderies, it might even make us fight. But we promised. We’d always be best friends.

As one single drop fell to the floor.

Is She Really What They Say? (a Taps Story)

0

(From now on the story will be told from Christina’s pov.)

I was finally back at bunker hill. Man did I love this place. I unloaded my stuff and said good bye to my mama and daddy. I loved them to no end, but I was really glad to be back. The only reason why I left was because I had too.

I was walking back up to my room when in the corridor I was picked up and spun around a little.

“Hey Chrisa! Long time no see!” Alex exclaimed happily putting me back down.

“Hey Axey. How are you?” I asked giggling as we walked towards my room.

“No bad, you?” He asked.

I shrugged, “I’m okay. Better now that I’m back.”

He nodded in agreement.

“We all missed you.” He said as we stopped in front of my room, “Why’d you leave again?”

I looked around for a second, “I’ll tell you later.”

I opened the door and immediately confetti was thrown on me and cheers and greetings were yelled in my ears.

“Hey Chris. We missed you.” Rusty told me wrapping an arm around my shoulders.

“I missed you guys too.” I said dusting off some of the confetti that was on me.

“Where’d you go?” West asked as they sat me down in my chair.

“A lot of places actually.” I told them.

“Well, were listening.” Shovel said passing around some regular chips.

I laughed lightly and began, “Well, when I first got home my ma had a talk with me about woman things I should be aware of and stuff.” They nodded politely even though non of them were interested in it, “Then my daddy took me out fishing that weekend. I caught a lot more fish then he did one was this big.” I extended my arms a little wider than my shoulders, they seemed sorta impressed, “We also went camping. It was me, my daddy, and a few of his old friends. One of them was a war veteran. I learned a lot about his experience in battle. It was really cool.” all of them looked really interested in that, “I went swimming a lot. And I went to the zoo. My daddy was doing a case for the owner so I spent the day looking at the animals as he took care of legal work.”

“Hold on.” Brian interrupted, “I hear you say a lot about you ‘daddy’. But I thought you hated him, and what exactly does he do?”

“Oh.” It just dawned on me that I never told them, “Well see. I do hate my biological father. But I love my step-daddy. You’ll always know the difference with me because I’ll always call my step-dad daddy, and my biological father, father. You’ll also notice venom in my tone when I talk about my father.”

They nodded, “As for occupation. My daddy is a lawyer. My father runs a company that makes him travel and get a bunch of different kinds of alcohol. I hate the guy.”

“How was the zoo?” Alex asked changing the subject.

“It was really fun actually. I got to hold a bunny and feed a tiger and help collect chicken eggs.” All of them ooh’d, “I volunteered at the retirement home for a while with mama. I also got some target practice in.”

“How?” Hulk asked.

“Well, daddy took me hunting with a couple of his friends on one of his day’s off. And I got to go paint baling too.”

All of them were astonished.

“Oh, Alex. You wont guess what else I did over the summer.” I teased him.

“I’m not gonna guess Chrisa, just tell me.” He said sounding slightly annoyed.

“I went horse back riding.” I announced proudly.

“You actually went horse back riding?” He exclaimed like he couldn’t believe it. He probably couldn’t. He tried to get me on a horse first year. It didn’t go so well. I was nervous to begin with. And he didn’t know that the horse was harder to handle. It kicked me off and I wound up in the hospital for about a week with a couple broken ribs.

“Well,” I admitted, “It was a sweet pony, and I technically just sat on it and braided it’s main. But it still counts. Right?”

He chuckled and said, “Considering it’s you. Maybe.”

“I don’t like how you said that.” I told him crossing my arms.

He laughed and rolled his eyes.

“So how was the summer session?” I asked the rest of the room.

“Summer session-y.” Bug told me.

“The only really interesting part of it was watching Shawn practically rip his hair out trying to figure out what you meant before you left.” J.C. told me.

I giggled again. I knew he would. That was my whole point of doing it. I figured leave him words like that and think if ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is real.

“Where is Shawn anyway?” I asked them.

“Why? Need to talk to your boyfriend?” West teased.

“I need to talk to him, and I’ll let you know if he is my boyfriend after.” I told him getting up unfazed by anything. I was always like that.

They stared at me like I was crazy. I shrugged it off and started out. I caught Alex’s eye. His face read, ‘if he does anything I want to know’, and ‘if he does anything I’m going to kill him’, and we can’t forget ‘I can’t believe you like that guy. You can do so much better’. Of course I just shrugged this off and went to look for him.

I found Shawn on the basketball court making failed attempts at shots. The ball bounced my way. I picked it up and made a swish shot. Shawn turned around and saw me smiling at him.

“You suck at this.” I told him grabbing that ball and bounce passing to him.

“You came back.” He said absent-mindedly letting the ball bounce past him.

I looked at him like he was crazy, “I only left for one summer Shawn. Besides, I promised you I’d be back. Didn’t I?”

He walked closer to me. He cupped my face and rubbed his thumb on my cheek. I savored his touch.

“what did you mean back there?” He asked.

“Huh?” I asked, not sure of what he meant.

“When you told me I should have told you I liked you sooner. What did you mean?” He asked again anxiously.

I smiled softly at him and said, “What I meant was; you should have told me that you liked me sooner because I like you back too.”

He smiled at me too, then he leaned in and our lips barely touched each other. He did this a couple of times before he fully put his soft, yet slightly chapped lips on mine. It was perfect. I swear if I wasn’t already, that kiss made me numb.

When we pulled away I looked deep into his brown eyes and he looked into my green ones.

“I love you, Christina Waywater.” He told me resting his forehead on mine.

“No you don’t Shawn.” I told him, “What your feeling is an attraction and interest in me. There for having your brain stimulated to the illusion of love. You don’t love me, Shawn. Even if you do it’s not real. But, I have a strong attraction towards you.”

“Why do you have to make things complicated. And more importantly, why do you say I don’t love you when I do?” Shawn asked seeming to get mad.

I shrugged, “Maybe it’s my heart trying to make up for the guilt I’m feeling for not being able tell you the same thing back.”

He looked at me like I had two heads.

“All around me, Shawn. Ever since I was little, there was never any love. Only abuse. I figured that, that was what it was always like. There is no love, and even if there is then I have right to it. I don’t deserve it. All I am is a crazy girl with the loss of pain. What use am I to anyone? What love does anyone hold for me? Shawn, all your feeling is interest and attraction. Nothing more.”

He kissed me again but this time it had more passion in it.

“I don’t care how you want to put it, Christina.” He said when we pulled away, “I don’t care if you can’t say it back to me. I love you, and because I love you I’m going to show you love and make you see this isn’t just attraction and interest. I love you, Christina and I will always protect you from everything. So, I was wondering, would you want to be my girl friend?”

I looked at him for a second, then replied, “Only to see if you can really love me and show me what it is. But, yes, Shawn. I’d love to be your girlfriend.”

He smiled even bigger then he did before and kissed me again. Well, Alex would just have to live with this, and Shawn would have to put up with us.

Now, if only I knew this was the beginning of my troubles.

Is She Really What They Say?( a Taps Story)

0

It’s been a year since I realized I loved Christina. I was in my second here at the academy. It was about the summer time. I was staying for the summer training session. I knew Dwyer, Brian, West, and all the others were. I was still wondering about Christina.

I asked her and she said she wasn’t sure yet. The only time she wasn’t here for anything was during Christmas break last year. She’s always been here. Then again, I’ve only known her for about two years.

After she was healed and everything from her father we got to sit down with her and ask her about it. She said that was the reason why she couldn’t have too many friends. She didn’t want her father to hurt them.

She’s actually really sweet, get to know her. She’s just still got this mysteriuse air to her. I think now all the guys in our year are crushing on her. And not just because she beat Martin Lax in chess ten times. And Lax is the best chess player Bunker Hills has seen.

Course she did get a hit when he didn’t win one of them. Christina didn’t even look fazed when he did that. I asked and she said it didn’t hurt. He father smacked her harder then that.

It was one of those days I didn’t have anything better to do, so I figured I hang out with Christina. She always had something to do. I knocked on her door before Brian opened it.

“Come on in Dave.” He said and moved aside.

He closed the door behind me. I understood why he and all the rest of our friends were there. Christina was packing her things. We had the graduates dance tonight. and then tomorrow we would leave for summer recess if we wanted to.

“What’s going on?” I asked cautiously.

“I’m heading home for the summer this time.” Christina said not looking up as she threw other things in her trunk.

“Why?” I asked.

“I need to get away for a little while.” She told me, “It’s just getting a little too hard to deal with all the time. I figure one summer at home couldn’t hurt. Right?”

I was trying not to growl. But I knew everyone knew it was coming.

“So what are you and your mom and dad going to do?” Dwyer asked ignoring me.

She shrugged, “Mama and Daddy’ll probably surprise me with camping, fishing, helping remodel the house a little. You know, Alex, the usual.”

“Wont be as fun without me there will it?” He asked laughing.

She laughed too, “We’ll see.”

She closed the trunk and took it off her bed.

“You wont have miss me too much guys.” She said smiling, “I’ll be back by the end of the summer at the right beginning of the new school year.”

“Sure.” I hissed.

“Something wrong Shawn?” She asked.

“Yeah, sure your coming back.” I said again.

“Of course I am. Why would you think otherwise?” She sounded confused.

“Your just using and excuse to leave and go in another direction.” I told her fuming, “We get all excited for you coming back, and you never do. What then, Christina? What then?”

“Shawn, I love it here. Why would you think I’m not coming back. It’s like a second home to me.” She said calmly.

” Cause you don’t want to deal with everything again.” I hissed.

“Shawn I think you may want to cool it.” West said from the other side of the room.

“No!” I hissed at him.

I heard Christina sigh, “Shawn, I’m coming back. I promise you that. And I never go back on my promises. I’ll be back at the end of the summer. I just want to go home for a while.”

“To your abusive father?” I demanded.

“Why would I call that hell hole home?” She asked surprised, “I was talking about going home to my loving Mama, and caring step-father.”

“And how do I know?” I persisted.

“I was going to try and introduce you guys to them. I know they’d love you, and I’m pretty sure your going to love them.” She said.

“Bull shit!”

“Why the hell do you care so much when I am?” She demanded.

“Oh, wouldn’t you like to know.” I snapped.

“Your and ass, you bastard.” She snarled.

“And your nothing more than a slutty bitch!” I didn’t know why I just said that, but I was glad with what she did next. I more than deserved it.

She lunged forward and tackled me to the floor sending both of us flying into the hall. It was opened by an older cadet. We were rolling around throwing punches and bashing each other into the wall.

“Bitch!” I yelled.

“Inconsiderate, incompetent, dick!” She retorted.

For someone who was so small she was strong. She threw me into a wall with her bare hands and started pounding me like there was no tomorrow. I finally got the high ground and had he pined under me.

“Why the hell do you want to leave anyway? I thought you said this was your home?” I had to yell because a bunch of guys had gathered around to see what was going on.

She flipped me and shook me by my collar, “That’s my business! I may love this place but I have the freedom to come and go as much as the next guy!”

I had to hit her up side the head and flip her over, “Since when were you a guy!?”

“Metaphorically speaking bastard!” She literally spat in my eye and slammed me in wall again.

“Why the hell to do care so much if I leave anyway!” She yelled.

“Because I love you!” I finally screamed.

Everything stopped. The cheering went silent. My heart was still. Everyone was staring at me with wide eyes. I didn’t really pay attention to any of the spectators or anything. My focus was Christina.

Her green eyes were wide. Shock was clearly evident on her face. Her grip was loosening on my shirt collar from where she held. She opened her mouth a couple of times to say something, but nothing came out. It was just like she was looking for the right words to say.

Come on. I thought. If your going to reject me and my feelings, or laugh in my face, or nicely turn me down then do it now. Now while it wont hurt as much.

A couple seconds after I had this thought, her hands loosened completely from my shirt. She had a small sweet smile on her face. Her eyes were happy. And even though her hair was a mess, and she had a couple of bruises and a little blood on her face, she was beautiful.

“Your such an idiot, Shawn.” She said moving her hands and clasping them behind her back, “You should always tell a girl something like that right when you figure it out.”

She smiled at me and then went into her room and gently closed the door.

I stood there a good few minutes trying to figure out what had just happened. I wasn’t alone in that either. Why? You maybe asking, because when I finally came to grips with what just happened, me and every other guy who was still there trying to figure it out(which was everyone) what Christina had just said and meant, there were about forty or so people who joined me in a

“What?” At the same time. I was glad I wasn’t the only one who was lost. Girls were impossible to figure out. And Christina was the most impossible to figure out out of them all.

Is She Really What They Say? (a Taps story)

1

(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.”

She nodded.

“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.”

I whistled.

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.

She shrugged. 

“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.

Dear Alex,

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.

BFF Chrisa.

“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.