Chapter 2

Kathy took her bag, swung it over her shoulder and left the class. School was over and it was time for her to go home. As she walked she prayed that she wouldn't meet Joel or she would be forced to stay back. Holding her breath she cautiously left the school, making sure not to be seen by any of Joel's gang members.

She ran across the school ground and up to the school gate. "Good night, Mr. Ray." She wished the school night guard as she ran past him. She continued to run as fast as she could. This had become a habit for her; running to forget everything that was happening, running to escape.

The street was deserted except for a few people but they didn't pay any mind to her. After all, who would?

Kathy ran and ran until she felt drained of all her energy. She stopped at a playground but there were no kids. The sky was darkening slowly and Kathy knew she had less than an hour before she was expected at home. She decided to spend some time at the playground. The playground was not so big; there was a slide and sandbox at one end. Next to the swings were the see-saws and the merry-go-round.

She made her way to the swings and sat down; slowly swinging back and forth. Kathy closed her eyes as she felt the breeze on her skin. She pushed her foot against the ground, pushing herself higher and higher. Kathy opened her eyes for a brief moment to look up at the sky's darkening hue. Feeling a wave of relief come over her, she closed her eyes again and pushed herself off the swing. For a moment she felt herself flying in the air and then the impact hit her as she fell on the ground. She didn't make any attempts to move away from her position.

She observed the orange sky and the flock of birds flying back to their nests. "At least they still have their homes" Kathy muttered to herself. Kathy thought about the past year; about how hard it had been.

First, her dad left them for another woman; he and mom wouldn't work out he said, he still loved his kids he said, he would visit his kids he said, her name was Alison he said, he loved her he said, he was getting married he said, they could come over anytime he said but all he said was bullshit. As much as Kathy wanted she couldn't bring herself to forgive him, the man who had brought her up, the man who had cheated his wife and children. Nothing he did could ever heal the scars her father had opened.

It was then that her mom felt that they needed a fresh start. So she pulled her two kids out of school in the middle of the year and moved away; away from all the memories and pain. Even though her mom may have done a good job of cleaning herself again, that wasn't the case for Kathy. Everywhere she went she was reminded of the past. That was why she started to cut herself. The physical pain she felt helped her forget the emotional damage she had received but it lasted only for a few minutes.

"Kathy!" She opened her eyes to see Eric standing beside her, looking down. He gave her a warm smile but Kathy remained indifferent. "Mind if I join you?" Kathy shrugged and he sat down next to her. Kathy remained lying down. The silence continued between them and no one dared to break it. Kathy turned her head to look at him; he was handsome and there was a certain childish gleam to his eyes. She watched the way the breeze blew his tousled hair and that was when she saw the tattoo, a small one on the right side of his neck. It was a Celtic cross. Eric turned and caught her looking at him. Immediately she sat up and pulled her knees up to her chest letting her hair cover her blushing face.

"Don't you think it's time we went home?" Eric asked her getting up and dusting his pants. Kathy nodded and took the hand he held out for her. "I'll walk you home." Kathy just nodded; she wasn't in the mood to talk. She kept wondering about Eric's tattoo but felt that it was better if she kept quiet about it.

It was almost dark and there were very few people; most of them out for an evening walk. Kathy held the straps of her bag tightly and stopped in her tracks. Eric stopped too giving her an inquisitive look. She looked up at him and despite her resistance she smiled at him. "How was your first day at school?" she asked him.

"It was…interesting. I made a new friend today." He smiled at her.

"That's nice. Did you guys hit it off?"

"I don't know, did we?"

I looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "Too forward?" He let out a laugh.

"You never really told me much about you." That wasn't an answer to his question but that was all she could say. He didn't really mean what he said about her being his friend, right? Or was he just flirting with her?

"Okay, I'll tell you. What do you want to know?"

"Hmmm….why did you move here?" They continued to walk at a slow pace. Eric ran a hand through his hair smiling.

"My mom got a job transfer and this looked like a nice enough place. How long have you been here?"

His reason seems legit enough.

"Nearly a year now." Has it really been that long? "So how do you like this place?"

"It's…nice." He looked at Kathy "Beautiful." Kathy could feel the heat creep up her neck and kept her head down.

Kathy cleared her throat and Eric let out a chuckle. "So where's your house?" she asked him.

"Just a few blocks down yours."

"How do you know my house?"

"Saw you coming out of it this morning. " They stopped in front of her house. "And this is it if I'm not wrong."

Kathy nodded at him, "You're correct. So anyway I'll see tomorrow. Bye." Kathy felt like her words were too abrupt but what she needed at that moment was to get away. She turned around without giving him a chance to say anything. She walked up to her door; on hearing him say bye she turned around to give him a wave and entered her house.

Dropping her bag next to the door, she proceeded towards the living room and found her brother seated on the couch with his head buried in a book, busily coloring. Without a word she sat down next to him; he looked up at her and beamed; one of the highs for her day.

"Hey kiddo! How you doing?" she leaned back on the couch and placed her feet up on the coffee table in front of her.

"I'm good. You? How was school?"

"I'm the same. School was ok. What about yours?"

"Fine." He muttered solemnly and Kathy picked up on that.

"What happened?" He looked up at her with his big eyes.

"Well, there's this kid in my class and the other kids keep calling him names. He's very thin and wears these big glasses." He gestured with his hands.

She raised an eyebrow at him, "So?" She asked sounding a bit more sarcastic than she had intended to.

"I don't know how to help him." Dylan's voice sounded like he was about to cry.

"Dylan, why do you want to help him?"

"Because…because it's not nice."

Kathy sighed. "Dylan, it's not your problem. Let him take care of himself."

"But Kathy-"

"Just listen to me." She cut him off. "Leave him alone or you'll just get yourself in to trouble.

She wasn't usually like this to him but something about that kid made her aggressive. He looked at her with tears in his eyes but her heart only hardened. To her relief the doorbell rang at that moment ending the conversation. Kathy got up and Dylan took that as an opportunity to escape to his room. She took her time as she walked up to the front door; she opened it and almost gasped in shock. But she bit her lip.

It was Joel.

What is he doing here?

He held up a single rose for her, "I'm sorry." He gave her an apologetic look. He looked sincere enough but Kathy knew he was only here for one thing. "Oh baby." She smiled and hugged him. Kathy knew better than to refuse him. She looked behind her, "Wait a second." She ran halfway up the stairs.

"Dylan?" She shouted.


"Stay in your room ok? I have a guest over."


"Dylan?" She shouted again.

"Fine!" Okay, that was taken care of and her mom would be home late

She turned around and found Joel standing at the bottom of the stairs. She smiled at him in a sly way as he approached her. She held out her hand for him and he took it. She led him towards her room and closed the door. She looked in to his eyes and saw the lust; he kissed her and she felt the hunger in him.

It was time to put her act on.

She pulled at his hair and he pulled her closer. Things started to get serious as Joel pushed her on the bed and the clothes started to come off. She moaned and groaned to give him the satisfaction but inside all she felt was disgust. She held back sobs as he took and she gave. She had given everything away to him; there was nothing left to call hers.

Please let this be over soon. She silently prayed.

The room was dark when she opened her eyes. Joel was standing next to her window wearing nothing but his boxers, the lit cigarette glowing softly in the dark. She sat up on the bed but he didn't seem to notice. The streetlight fell on his body at a perfect angle; she saw the tattoos covering his chest and his left arm. His dark hair covered his eyes as he looked out of the window. He let out a cough and Kathy winced a bit. His smoking was gonna get the better of him one day. The clock showed that the time was 7.30. Her mother would only be home by nine but she wanted to get rid of Joel immediately. "My mother will be home soon." She muttered picking up her shirt and pulling it over her head. Joel grunted acknowledging what she said. He threw the cigarette butt out her window and then came to sit next to her. She paid him no mind looking down at the sheets; slowly he leaned in and kissed her on the neck but she remained still. She had no energy to respond. "My mother will be home soon." She repeated. He stopped; he put on his shirt and then pulled on his pants. "I'll see you tomorrow." He muttered and left her room closing the door behind him. Kathy just sat there in dark and shuddered a bit when she heard the front door close downstairs. Finally, it was over.

Feeling so emotionally drained, Kathy fell back on her bed. "One day this will stop." She whispered to herself.

"One day." She knew what she wanted to do but there were no more tears left, just pure guilt and exhaustion washed over her. "One day." She whispered again before dozing off.