"Well, here we are!" My Mom said cheerfully.

We were parked in front of Southeast Middle School, my eigth school I've been to so far.

I groaned, "I want to be at my old school, I hate being the new kid all the time!"

"I know you miss Nevada, but you've also missed South Carolina, New York and Ohio, see you always adjust well and make new friends." My Mom tried to reasure me.

"Yeah, until we had to move again, and again, and again."

"I'm sorry honey, but my new job pays well and bec-" Mom started to say.

"And because of my job we have to move alot, and if we didn't move I'd lose my job." I finished for her.

"Right. Well at least you had that dentist appointment, so now you just have to stay at school half the day."

"Yeah." I sighed. "How long do you think we'll stay here before we move again?"

"I'll have to ask my boss, but I think maybe about a year at the most. That's good, right?" Mom said as happily as she could.

"I guess so."

"Now hurry up, you're going to be late for lunch."

Slowly, I got out of the car and walked up the steps to the school.

"Bye, see you later. Love you!" Mom called before she drove away.

The cafateria smelled of disgusting school food.

Thank God I packed my lunch! I thought.

I scanned the room for a place to sit. Just my luck, none of the tables had an open spot. Who would want to sit with the new tweleve year old kid anyway?

Then in in the back of the cafateria, I spotted a table where a girl, about my age, eating by herself. I figered she might be new too, so I made my way to her table. As I got closer I could see the girl wasn't eating at all, in fact she didn't have any lunch tray or lunch box in front of her.

When I got to the table, fearing she'd say no if I asked, I sat down. She didn't even notice me, she was to busy pulling a loose string off her blue sweater.

"Hi." I said in a friendly voice.

The girl looked up, but didn't say anything. She had badly tangled blonde hair and she looked very skinny.

"My name's Katie." I said, trying to break the silence.

She gave me a confuesed look and again, said nothing.

"What's your name?" I asked.

I waited for her reply.

Still, nothing.

Just when I thought that she couldn't talk, she finally said, "My name's Lisa."

Lisa looked down at my peanut butter and jelly sandwitch, then quickly looked away.

"How come you don't have any food? You must be hungry." I asked.

"Um, I forgot my lunch and I, I don't have any money to buy some." Lisa said, shyly.

I tore my sandwitch in half.

"Here." I said, smiling as I handed her the other half of my sandwitch.

"Thanks." Lisa smiled back.

"No problem. So, are you new here too?" I asked, trying to start a conversation.

"No, not exatcly. I mean, this is my first year here at this school, but I've lived here my whole life." Lisa answered.

"Oh, well do you know your way around the school yet? This is my first day, so I'm totally lost!"

"Yeah, it's not hard to learn. After lunch I'll try to give you a quick tour."

"Cool." I said.

"Do you know your schedule yet?" Lisa asked.

I pulled my schedule out of my book-bag.

"Let's see," I said, looking at the paper, "I have Mr. Rogen first period, Ms. Stine second, Mrs. Brown third, Mr. Brooks fourth, Mr. Simson fifth, Mrs. Kelly sixth, Mr. Woody seventh and Ms. Smith last."

"Hmm, I have Mrs. Kelly and Mr. Rogen the same time you do. Mrs. Kelly's really sweet, but Mr. Rogen's kind of strict." Lisa said, sticking her tounge out when she mentioned Mr. Rogen.

I laughed.

By the end of the day, Lisa asked me to come spend the the night with her tomorrow after school. Of course, I said yes. I was so excited to have made a friend so quickly, and I knew my mom would let me go because she'd be as happy as I was. (Probably more!)


The next day, after school, I had found out that Lisa lived right across the street from me. Lisa had a nice, two story house, complete with a fireplace.

"So, what you want to do?" Lisa asked.

"How about we play, truth or dare?"

"Okay."

Lisa always picked truth, leaving me to do the dares. On one dare she made me try to stand on my head. Which, didn't turn out very well!

"Truth or dare?" I asked Lisa.

"Truth."

"Umm, how come we're the only one here? Where's your parents?" I asked just out of curiosity.

Lisa's smile disapered.

"What?" I asked.

"Nothing, um, well my mother died a few years ago and my dad, um, he's, he's at work right now."

"Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry about your mom. I shouldn't've asked you that question." I said, ashamed.

"It's ok, let's do something different."

We played Twister for a little while, then we just sat down and talked.

"So why did you move to Georgia?" Lisa asked.

"I've been moving around since I can remeber. It's because of my mom's work that we move." I said grumpily.

"You don't like moving?"

"Not really. Everytime I get setteled in or make a new friend I have to leave. And I'm tired of that." I answered.

"I hope you don't leave anytime soon. You're the only friend I got." Lisa said, looking at the floor.

"What do you mean?"

Before she could answer, the front door swung open.

"Lisa! Where are you?" Screamed a man's voice.

The man marched his way into the living room.

"Look at this mess! You better clean that up right now!" He yelled.

The man had on overalls, he was kind of chubby too. He wranked of booze.

Lisa got up and started picking up the Twister game. I got up to help her.

"Not you! I was talking to Lisa!" he screamed, pushing me hard back down on the couch.

Lisa stood up.

"Don't push her like that, Daddy!" She half yelled.

All of a sudden, her dad punched her hard in the eye, making her topple over, hitting her head on the fireplace.

"HEY, YOU CAN'T DO THAT!" I screamed.

"WATCH ME!"

He stumbled over to Lisa, jerking her up by her hair.

Lisa screamed.

Then he started hitting her arms and slapping her face.

I ran into the corner of the room, afraid. I didn't know what to do.

I covered my eyes as Lisa's father punched her in the mouth and nose, making her bleed. Then he picked her up and threw her hard against the wall.

He started unfastening his metal belt.

"GET OUT OF HERE, OR ELSE YOU'LL BE NEXT!" He screamed at me.

Not knowing what to do, I ran out of the house as fast as I could, tears running down my face.

When I got home my Mom was in the kitchen cooking her and Dad some supper.

"What happened? I thought you were spending the night?" She asked, worried.

I didn't know what to say.

"Um, she forgot to tell her dad I was coming, so I had to leave."

"Oh, well maybe next time then." Mom said cheerfully.

"Yeah, maybe."

I ran upstairs into my room, I was too upset to eat, I imagened the scene over and over again as I layed in bed. I couldn't believe what happened. I couldn't even understand what happened.

Why was her dad so mean? What did she do to deserve that?

That night I cried myself to sleep. Not just because I was scared of what I'd wittnessed, but because I kept worrying about Lisa, and how I wouldn't know if she was okay until school on Monday.

I wasn't just scared for me, I was scared for her.


At school on Monday, I was relieaved when I saw Lisa. But shocked when I saw her face.

She had a huge, swollen black eye, a busted lip, and a badly bruised nose!

"Oh my gosh!" I whispered to her as we walked into Mr. Rogen's class.

Mr. Rogen looked at us, then stopped us at the door.

"What happened to you Lisa?" He asked, concern in his voice.

"What? Oh yeah that, well, Katie and I were playing baseball this weekend and Katie hit me with the ball. Not on purpose, of course!" Lisa lied, happily.

How could she do that? Lie to the teacher? Is she crazy?

Mr. Rogen looked at me, "Is that true?" He asked, sternly.

I looked at Lisa, who nodded at me, grinning.

I didn't know what to do. I tried to open my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Instead I quickly nodded my head, 'yes'.

Mr. Rogen didn't seem to buy it, but he let us pass by anyway.

After class, I dragged Lisa to the girl's room.

Looked to see if anybody was in there. When there wasn't I asked, "Are you crazy? Why did you lie to the teacher?"

"Because it's none of his buiesness!" She snapped.

"Why did your dad do that? Has he done that before?" I asked.

Lisa sighed, "Ever since my mom died, he started drinking. He's been doing this to me since I was about, six or seven."

"And you just let him do it?"

"What am I suppose to do?" She asked.

I was silent for the longest time, until I asked, "Did he do anything else to you, after I left?"

Lisa rolled her sleeves up. From her elbow to her wrist, her skin was the color of black, blue and yellow. Then she turned around and pulled up her shirt. I gasped as I saw at least fifty imprinted marks from his metal belt all over her back. When she turned to face me I saw that there were more brusies on her sides and stomach. Lastly, she rolled up her pants leg, to show even more marks and brusies on the front and back of her legs!

"Oh my God! We, we, have to tell someone Lisa! This, is, is, wrong! It's child abuse!" I yelled.

She clamped her hand over my mouth.

"Shut up! We're not telling anyone. They'll take me away and get my dad in trouble! He'll know I'd told and he'll be so mad, he'll kill me!"

"But, if we don't, something bad could happen to you!" I said.

"Look, if you tell anyone. And I mean anyone, I won't be your friend and I'll never forgive you! Please, promise me that this will be our little secret! Please! Please!" Lisa begged.

I sighed, knowing I'll regret this.

"Okay, Okay, I won't tell anyone, I swear."


Two years passed. Luckly my family doesn't have to move, so now Lisa and I can start our freshman year in high school together. Ever since that day, even though I don't want to, I still keep silent about Lisa's secret.

I was laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, until all of a sudden, there was a loud knock at my window. I jumped, until I realized what it was.

"Katie! Katie, wake up, let me in!" Lisa yelled.

I quickly got up and opened the window. When Lisa stepped in, I could see that there were more brusies on her face. She was histaricly crying.

"What happened?" I whispered, for fear of waking my parents.

"He, he, he." Lisa stuttered.

"What?" I asked, afraid.

"He. Raped. Me." Lisa said between sobs.

I automatically hugged Lisa tight, letting her cry on my shoulder. I soon realized that I was crying too.

"Can I stay here tonight? I'm too scared to go back home." Lisa asked.

"Of course." I said.

About a month later, Lisa stopped me in the school hallway and pulled me into the girl's bathroom. After checking to see if nobody was in there, Lisa gave me a worried stare.

"What?" I asked, although I knew what she was about to say.

"I'm pregnant." She whispered.

"Is it-" I started.

"Yeah. It's his." Lisa said, as she started to cry.

"We have to tell someone, Lisa. Your dad's getting out of control." I said sternly.

"No! You promised me you wouldn't!" Lisa yelled.

"But Lisa, we have to!" I repeated.

"NO! AND IF YOU TELL ANYONE I SWEAR, I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU! EVER!" Lisa screamed, then she stormed out of the bathroom.


Months passed. One day I came to school, Lisa wasn't there. The next day she wasn't there again. After a week of her missing, I started to feart the worst. Everyday, I could tell that the teachers were getting worried too. Knowing I was her friend they kept asking me questions about did know where she was and how she got the brusies. I kept lying to them, of course, by saying she was on vacation and that she's very clumsy and falls alot.

After two weeks without Lisa at school, I became terrified for her.

After class one day, I went over to the teacher's desk.

She's going to hate me for this! Should I do this? I have to, it's the only way to keep her safe!

"Katie? Is something wrong?" My history teacher asked.

"Yes. I have to tell you something. Something that I've should've said long ago." I said.

I took a deep breath and said, "Lisa's father has been abuseing her and rapping her. She's told me herself and I've also wittnessed it. I'm really scared for her, she hasn't been at school in two weeks! Anything could've happened. I'm so sorry I haven't said nothing sooner, but she told told me not to tell anyone! Please, please help her!"

I realized that I had started crying.

My teacher got up and gave me a hug.

"It's ok. You are a very brave young lady for speaking up for your friend. I'll take care of this problem, right away! Don't worry, I'm sure she won't be mad at you. She's very lucky to have a caring friend like you." He said.

On Monday, Lisa finally arrived back at school. We were in the middle of a history lesson when the principal talked loudly over the intercom.

"Lisa Barret, please report to the office. Lisa Barret." The voice said.

I looked over at Lisa. I knew why they were calling for her. Lisa gave me a nasty look, apparently she knew too.

How can doing the right thing, feel so lousy?


THREE YEARS LATER


I'm waiting in line at the movie theater. It's a Saturday after noon. I haven't seen Lisa since that day they called her to the office. Everyday, I think about her. Wondering if her life is better now. Wondering, if she'll ever forgive me. I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around.

"Are you Katie?" A teenaged girl, about my age asked.

"Yes. Who are you?" I asked, confused.

"It's me, Lisa."

"Lisa?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's me." Lisa said.

"Oh my God! How are you?"

"I'm great." Lisa smiled.

"How's your baby?" I assked.

Lisa frowned, "When my dad found out, he thought it was some other guy's baby, so he kicked me in the stomach. I lost the baby, that's why I was out of school for so long."

"I'm so sorry." I apoligized.

"It's ok. I wanted to thank you."

"Thank me?" I asked.

"For telling the teacher about my secret."

"I thought you hated me."

"I did at first, but now that I'm older, I understand now that you did the right thing. If you kept silent, I don't know, I could be dead by now by being beaten to death. You saved my life. Thank you." Lisa said, giving me a hug.

I started tearing up, "That's what friends are for, right?"

"Right."

I couldn't believe it. After all these years, I thought she hated me. I was so ashamed that I told. But now I realize, that she was right, I saved her life. I was too scared to tell anybody at first, I thought she wouldn't be my friend if I did. I'm so glad I found the courage to tell someone. From now on, I'll never be silent again