It was Tuesday night. Which meant bowling night. Which meant drinking night. Which meant her mother passing out and her step-father paying her a visit.
Which meant pain, terror, tears, and throwing up. Kelly hated throwing up.
But, for now, while Mom and Douglas were bowling, Kelly had her laptop and, more importantly, her online friends. Not that they were her real friends. If they were her real friends, she wouldn’t have to lie to them. But pretending she was someone else was her only option. The only way she could maintain her sanity and feel normal.
Even if only for a little while.
Kelly logged on and entered the chat room. Lv4him, jfreak and Bri were already there.
Bri: Hey kellbell. How was your day?
Kellbell: It was ok. Just got back from a boring dinner at The Renaissance. What a liar.
Lv4him: Poor thing. LOL
Bri: ready 2 play?
Jfreak: sure. U go first, bri.
Bri: LV – ToD?
Bri: did u tell Max u like him 2day?
Lv4him: no…couldn’t get the nerve.
Jfreak: bawk bawk!
Bri: yeah right. LB – ur turn
Lv4him: JF – ToD?
Lv4him: go sing yankee doodle to ur sis
Bri: so, KB – any plans for the we?
Kellbell: gonna hang with friends. I wish...
Bri: I’m going to a concert at church.
Kellbell: sounds fun.
Lv4him: what concert?
Jfreak: Done. She ignored me. LOL. KB – ToD?
The back door slammed and Kelly jumped. She glanced at her bedroom door. The lock had been busted a long time ago and the desk she’d pushed in front of it wouldn’t keep Douglas out for long.
Her mother shouted something and Douglas cursed. Kelly looked back at her computer screen and tried to shut out the noise.
Jfreak: KB u there? ToD?
Kellbell: MMMM. Can’t risk lying anymore than I have to. D.
Jfreak: go hug ur mom.
What? Who dares someone to hug their mom?
Jfreak: idk. I just feel like God is telling u to go hug ur mom.
Kellbell: I’ll take T.
Jfreak: ur only allowed 1 swap.
Jfreak: Fine. Why ru mad at ur mom?
What was up with the mom stuff? It never got this personal before. Kelly bit her lip. She wasn’t mad at her mom. She was mad at Douglas. He was the one who was hurting her. The one she dreamed at night of torturing.
POUND! POUND! POUND!
Kelly’s head whipped towards her door. No!
“Kelly Ann! What are you doing in there?”
Kelly was relieved to hear her mother’s voice instead of Douglas’s.
“Homework, Mom!” she called back.
“Come out ere and keepyur father comp’ny. I’m goin’ a bed.” Her words slurred together.
He wasn’t her father! And the last thing she was going to do was keep him company on purpose. She’d rather die.
“In a while, Mom!” Just go away.
Kelly looked back at the screen.
Jfreak: KB, ru ok?
Footsteps sounded in the hall. Her eyes darted back to the door as her heart picked up speed.
“Kelly, sweetheart! Come here and keep me company!” Douglas called. His drunken body crashed against the door.
Then the tears came. And so did the anger. At Douglas for his abuse. At her mom for allowing it. At God for not answering her prayers.
The flashing cursor begged for her attention. Kelly tried to focus on the computer.
More pounding. More disgusting coaxing.
Her palms were sweating. Her heart was racing. Her stomach churned.
Bri: answer KB...
Lv4him: u ok, kell?
The truth...did she dare?
Kelly swallowed and sent up one final prayer for strength and courage.
Kellbell: no…Im not ok. I need help. SOS
A week later...
Bri: we’re glad ur ok.
Lv4him: we were worried.
Kellbell: Douglas is in jail. Mom’s in rehab.
Kellbell: in therapy. And... I found a church. Working out the anger at G tho.
Lv4him: u’ll get there, KB. Promise.
Jfreak: I’m just glad u told the T
Kellbell: me too. I owe u guys.
Bri: Just don’t give up on G, ok? He loves u, KB. He’s got ur back.
Lv4him: the truth really did set u free, Kell. No more lying, OK?
Kellbell: Deal... Well, I need to go complete my dare.
Jfreak: what dare?
Kellbell: my mom. I think she really needs a hug. And I think I need one 2.
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