Then I told mom to stop picking on dad. Whatīs the problem with his buying a new car anyway? My guess? I think mumīs kinda afraid heīs having some kind of midlife crisis and is going to leave her for a twenty year old" Melissa was saying. Meghan was looking at her, but she was obviously thinking about something else. "Meg, are you paying attention?" Melissa asked. "Of course not. You know I donīt like coffee" was Meghanīs answer. "What?" "What?" "Are you alright, Meg?" "Iīm fine" "Yeah right. And I donīt know you at all" "I said Iīm fine, Melissa" "Itīs ok if donīt want to talk, Meg, but donīt lie to me, ok?It only makes me feel worse" "What do you have to feel bad about?" "Is that because Iīm younger? Because if it is, Iīm only two years younger than you" "It has nothing to do with it, Melissa, I just donīt feel like talking" It was killing Meghan having to lie to her sister like that .Oh, if Melissa could know how much she wanted to talk. "Ok then" Meghan forced a smile. "But Meg" Melissa continued "Iīm your sister, you know, you can always come to me. Always" "I know, honey. Iīm sorry I took this on you. But Iīm fine, just a little tired" "Itīs ok. You know I love you, right?" "Me too" 

Steve was sitting on the couch watching tv. He was a gorgeous man. Tall, white, with very dark hair and green eyes. He had grown up next door from Meghan and Melissa.They had know each other their whole lives and had been best friends since they could remember. "Cīmon" he said watching a horror movie "No one is really that stupid" Suddenly, the doorbell rang. "Missy, hi" he said as he saw Melissa "Hey" she said kissing his face "I hope youīre not busy" "Not at all. Just watching a crapy horror movie. Is everything ok?" They sat on the couch. Steve turned the tv off. "Iīm not sure" Melissa answered. "Whatīs wrong?" "Have you been talking to Meg lately?" "We talk every day, why?" "Does she seem ok to you?" "Actually no. Sheīs been pretty weird for a while" "Exactly. Sheīs been like that since..." Melissa started saying "Since she moved in with that jerk" Steve completed. "Do you think heīs doing something to her?" Melissa asked worried "He wouldnīt dare. He knows Iīd kill him" "You still have a thing for her, huh?" Melissa teased "I think Iīll always have a thing for her" he answered "Iīm really worried, Steve" "I know, Missy,but sheīll be fine, youīll see" "I hope so..." she said sadly "I wish she trusted me, but she doesnīt" "Of course she does" "Sheīs much closer to you than to me" Steve looked into Melissaīs eyes. "Trust me, sheīll be fine"

  When Meghan got home, Dan wasnīt there yet. She laid on the bed. Sheīd had enough. She just couldnīt take it anymore. Then, feeling as sheīd been smashed by a truck, she started to cry. It passed a few hours before Dan got home. Meg was still crying though. "What are you crying about?" he asked as he saw her. "Nothing" "What do you mean by nothing?" he yelled "You went babbling to your sister again, didnīt you?" "No, Dan" she answered in a very low voice "I didnīt" "Liar" he slapt her face. Meghan cried more and more. "Iīm sorry, honey" he said reaching out to her "I donīt know what got into me" "Get away from me" she yelled. "Cīmon, baby, I said Iīm sorry. I love you" he held her hand. "You really wanna know whatīs wrong?" "Of course "Fine, then"

"What the hell...?" Melissa asked herself when she woke up at 3AM with the doorbell ringing incesantly. When she opened the door, Meghan was standing there, all bruised. "Meghan, oh my God, honey, what happened?" Meghan was crying really hard. "Come in" "I canīt" she said "Youīve gotta take me to the hospital. I think Iīm losing my baby" "What...?" Melissa didnīt even finished asking. She looked down "Honey, you are bleeding" Melissa started to cry too "Dan did this to you, didnīt he?" Meghan couldnīt even talk, but Melissa already knew the answer. "Cīmon, letīs go to my car. Iīm taking you to the hospital"

  "Iīm sorry, Ms. Hart, but your baby didnīt make it" the doctor said. Meghan held Melissaīs hand. Deep inside she wanted to believe theyīd be able to save the baby. "Ms. Hart, would you care to tell me what happened?" "I fell down" "Iīm really sorry, Ms, but these arenīt fall bruises. Iīm going to ask you, and I want an honest answer: "Were you beaten up?" the doctor asked. Meghan started to cry again. "Who did this to you?" the doctor asked. Melissa held Meghanīs hand harder. "No one" she answered "Look" the doctor said paciently "Itīs very important for you to tell" "Iīm not telling" "Youīve got to tell, Meg" Melissa said "I said Iīm not telling" "But then, how are we going to be able to press charges?" the doctor asked "The hospital canīt do anything unless we have a name" "Iīm not pressing charges" "What do you mean by youīre not pressing charges?" Melissa asked angrily "Youīve got to tell this bastard to the police" "Iīm not doing it, Missy" "Meg, youīve got to" Melissa yelled. The doctor excused herself and left. "Meg, look, you canīt leave it like that" "Iīm not going through this again" she yelled "The court, the humiliation and in the and, the S.O.B. goes free anyway. Why even bother?" "Meg..." Melissa started to say. "I canīt Missy" she said calmer "I canīt face it all over again" "Youīve got to" Melissa yelled. "You donīt know what Iīve been through" she yelled back. "Guys, knock it off" Steve got into the room saying. He hugged Meghan. "Itīs ok, Meggie, Iīm here"

  As they were in the car, Melissa was driving and Meghan was laying on Steveīs lap. They went to Melissaīs place. It was about seven oīclock when they got there. "Sorry, Meg, but I have to go to work" Steve said "I have a very important meeting today. If I could skip it, honey, you know I would, right?" "Yes" she answered "Iīll be fine, Steve" "Iīll be with her all day, donīt worry" Melissa said. He hugged Meghan and kissed her head. When Steve left, Melissa put Meghan on her bed. "Honey" she said "I know you donīt wanna talk about it, but you have to press charges against him" "Melissa, what part of the NO you did not understand?" "Meg, youīre the one that doesnīt undertstand" "I donīt understand?" she yelled "YOU donīt understand. You have no idea what I have been through" "Youīre right" Melissa said. "You can bet I am" she kept yelling "You donīt know what itīs like to be raped on campus, to face the humiliation, the shame, the guilt, the pain. Have the trial covered by national television, and in the end, the bastartd goes free for lack of evidence, and you are set as a liar. So, knock it off, you know nothing" "And you know everything, right?" Melissa yelled back "Get real, you donīt! You have no idea what it feels like seeing your best friendīs world falling apart. You have no idea what it is like seeing you big sister changing so fast, crying every day and night. You donīt know what itīs like seeing the person you love the most suffering so much and not being able to help. Feeling guilty and useless because you canīt do anything to ease her pain. Thatīs something you donīt know, Meghan" Both Meghan and Melissa were crying really hard. "Missy" Meghan started to say. "Donīt you Missy me! Iīm done with you! You canīt just come to my home asking for help and every time I try to help you cut me off saying I know nothing. Iīm done!" "Fine, then. Iīm leaving, going back home" Meghan said angrily. "Youīre going back to that bastard? You are so stupid" "Why do you care?" "I donīt. Go home. But when he beats the hell out of you again, do me a favor and find another loser to help you at 3AM" "Fine, I will" Meghan grabbed her purse and left Melissaīs apartment.

  Melissa sat on her bed. She was crying. "What have I done?" she thought. Meghan had changed so much since she was raped. She had been popular her whole life and all of a sudden, she got rid of all her friends, except from Steve, and closed herself to the world. She would cry every day and night. Melissa would often try to talk to Meghan, but she never wanted to talk. Meg was 20 at the time. It took her a long time to build her life again. At 26, she was fine again. The nightmares had stopped and she even got to go to clubs and bars. Melissa and her were work partners. They designed clothes and fashion accessories. The girls were well-known all over the country. Then, she met Dan. They started dating and she looked very happy at first, but when she moved in with him, she got weird all over again. Melissa and Steve didnīt know what was going on. Until now. Melissa took the phone and called Steve. His cellphone was off. She left a voice message for him: "Hey, itīs me. As soon as you leave the meeting, call me. I did something really stupid. Call me, ok? I need you. Even if itīs only to kick my ass" She sat on her bed and started to cry again.

  "What did you do?" it was four oīclock when Steve called Melissa back. "Meg and I had a fight. She went back home" "You fought with Meg?" "Yes, I did. but she started it" "You could have avoided it, but I didnīt" "I could, but I didnīt. It doesnīt matter now, sheīs back to that jerk and you have to get her out of there" "You owe me one" "I know" she was about to burst into tears again. "It was not your fault. We both know Meghan can be pretty mean when sheīs stressed" "She can" "Donīt worry, Missy. Sheīll be fine" Steve said and hung up the phone.

  "Where the hell were you?" Dan asked when he got home and saw Meghan there. "Out" "Out? Did you get rid of the damn baby or not?" "I didnīt have to, Dan. You took care of this for me" "What?" "You made em have a miscarriage" "Honey, Iīm so sorry" "Youīre not" she took a deep breath "I just came here to tell that Iīm leaving you" "Youīre not" he grabbed her arm. "Yes I am. Stay away from me" "What will you do if I donīt?" "Nothing" she said "But Iīll " "But I will" Steve came through the door "Stay away from her or else Iīll call the police" "Steve donīt" Meghan said. "Meg, go get your stuff" Steve told her. "But.." "Now Meg" Meghan was crying and went to get her things. Dan came to beat Steve. He punched him on the face. Steve punched then on the stomach, then, punched his face. Dan fell on the floor. Steveīs nose was bleeding. Meghan came back with her stuff and saw it. "Oh my God, what happened?" "This asshole beated me up" Dan answered "Honestly Meg, do you want to go home with someone who does such thing?" "Cīmon Meg" Steve said and got Meghanīs things.

When they were in the car, for a long time, neither Meghan nor Steve said anything. She looked through the window. "Meg" Steve said finally "Honey, I donīt even know what to say" "Iīm fine" "Sweetie, if I had known before I could..." "No, Steve" she interrupted him "I was the one that didnīt say anything. I didnīt want help" "Now you do?" "I guess" "Itīs ok, honey. But Meggie, youīve got to ask for help" "Ok" "Meg, what else did he do to you?" "Later, ok?" "Right" He held her hand. "Donīt worry, Iīm here now"

Steve called Melissa as soon as he got home and put Meghan in bed. "Hello" she answered the phone with a very low voice. She was obviously crying. "Hey" he said "Sheīs with me" "Thank God. What happened? She went to your place after all?" "No, I picked her up at Danīs. He was about to hit her again" "Oh man. How is she?" "Sheīs resting right now" "Oh" "Why? You wanted to talk to her?" "No, just wanted to make sure she is fine" "Melissa..." "No, Steve. Iīm not gonna apologyse" "Ok" he laughed "Not my business" "Glad you noticed it" she laughed too. She was so relieved Meg was ok "Thanks for taking care of her"

Meghan was on the kitchen when Steve came to talk to her a couple hours later. "She was worried about you, you know?" he said. "Who?" "Melissa" "Oh" "Meg, talk to her, sheīs hurt" "And Iīm not?" "Yes you are. But youīve got me here, sheīs all alone there" "She was mean to me" "I know, babe, but I can bet you werenīt very nice to her either" "Sheīs the one that should apologyse" "Go talk to her, Meg, she deserves it" "Ok" she smiled "You know Missy. If I donīt talk to her now, weīll go years without taking to each other".

  Meghan got to Melissaīs place in twenty minutes. "Hey" she said "Hey" Melissa answered. "Iīm sorry" Meghan said. "You should be. I was just looking out for you" "I know, Iīm truly sorry" "I believe you. But Iīm not the one you have to apologyse to. You should apologyse to yourself. Youīre the one being hurt and not doing anything about it" "Ouch" "I mean it, Meg, if you donīt take care of it now, the pain you feel will just grow. You will end up bitter and possibly lonely. You have to do something now, Meg. Later could be too late" "Ok" Meghan said crying "Iīll press charges against him" "Good. Five more minutes that way and Iīd be the one to beat you up" Melissa hugged Meghan. She leaned her head on Melissaīs shoulder. "When did you become so smart?" Meghan asked. "When I started looking up to my big sister"

A couple minutes later Meghan and Melissa were at Steveīs place. Meg was getting dressed. They were going to the police. Although the hospital couldnīt press charges, they had given Meghan a report, so she could do it herself if she changed her mind. When they got to the police station, they showed it, they examined Meghan and she gave them Danīs name. He was arrested the next day and would be locked up for a while.

  It was a sunny afternoon when Steve got to Melissaīs place. Meghan had called him. She wanted to talk. "Whatīs wrong?" he asked. "Sit here, please" she said pointing to the couch. As he sat, she said "I donīt know the right way to say this, so,here it goes:I learned something important during my 26 years. Men suck. But you, Steve, you are different "she sat on the couch next to him "I.." she took a deep breath "I love you". Steve was so amazed he couldnīt even speak. As he didnīt, she continued "You are the love of my life and Iīm so sorry for not realizing it before. Iīm really sorry. My God, Iīm so stupid. I donīt have the right of making you come here, tell you this and expect something from you. Not after all I made youīve been through.Youīve always done everything for me, you were always by my side and I canīt forgive myself for not realizing sooner that you are the only person I could ever want to be with. You are my best friend and I donīt want that to change. You know, when you told me you loved me, we still got to be friends, even when I didnīt feel the same. The thing is: I did. I loved you back then. But I was afraid Iīd lose you. Now, itīs too late. If only I had realized it sooner we could..." Steve couldnīt say anything. He was very surprised and Meghan was speaking faster then he could think "Iīm sorry. I donīt know if I should have said that... I just..." She was going to say something else, but he shut her up with a kiss. 

Barbie Furtado
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