Somewhere I Belong

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Chapter 15: Trenton, North Carolina - January 3, 2004

It’s been almost two weeks since I had seen Cory. I had no clue what happened to him after the hospital or if he was even still with Vicky. After my mother called the hospital, she explained to them about the abuse she heard was happening to him. She didn’t give her name though and asked to remain anonymous. That’s all I knew. Not knowing was killing me. I sat home all vacation, hoping for him to show up or leave me a note on my window, telling him to meet somewhere. Nothing came though. My biggest fear was that he had been sent to live with another foster family without having a chance to tell me good-bye. The very thought made me want to burst into tears and vomit at the same time.

On the first day of school after vacation, I about rushed my father out of the house. He was giving me a ride since the temperature was a bit chillier than usual. I couldn’t wait to get to school to see if Cory was there. I was already waiting in the truck when Dad came out the back door. He made the vehicle come to life, the engine sputtering from the cold. Pulling out of the driveway, he headed towards the high school. “You nervous?” He asked, taking a sip from his insulated coffee mug.

“A little. What if he’s not there, Dad?”

“You gotta stay positive, okay? Hopefully, we did something good by reporting it to the authorities and he’s somewhere much better than he was. Everything will be okay.” He pulled the truck to a stop out front of the high school. “Have a good day. Tell him we said ‘hello’ if he’s here.”

“I will. Thanks, Daddy.” I kissed him on the cheek before sliding out of the cab. Tossing my back pack on, I headed for the front doors. Inside, I found Angie pacing by the large trophy case near the front office. When her eyes landed on me, she sprinted over.

“Where have you been?!” She exclaimed.

“My Dad gave me a ride. Why? What’s up?”

“Cory just got into a fist fight with PJ. He took off running when Mr. Venton tried to grab him.”

“Cory was here?” I asked. She nodded, looking at me confused. I hadn’t spoken to her over break. She had gone to Florida with her family to visit Disney World. She didn’t know what’s been going on.

“Yeah. Why wouldn’t he be?” I glanced at the clock on the wall over the office.

“Angie, take notes in history for me. If anyone asked, I went home sick.”

“Wait, what do you mean?” She asked as I turned for the door.

“I’m going to find Cory. Just cover for me, okay?”

“Abby, don’t! The bell is about to ring.” She stressed, looking behind her for any signs of a teacher or the hall monitor.

“It’s fine. Go to class. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I shoved the front door opened again and started running towards Getman’s Park. It was located right behind the high school, the beginning of the park branching off from the field next to the football field. At the bottom of the hill that lead to our spot, I found fresh foot prints and a few spots of blood. I climbed up along the path, keeping my eyes peeled for any type of movement. As I neared the clearing, I saw Cory pacing back and forth. He looked pissed and he was swearing under his breath. He didn’t even hear me as I stopped just inside the circle. “Cory?” I said softly. His head jerked up to find the source of the voice. When he realized it was me, he shot me a glare.

“What are you doing here, Abby? Go back to school.” He said in his gruff voice.

“I wanted to make sure you were okay. I haven’t seen you in two weeks. Are you alright?”

“Oh, now you care if I’m okay? What about when I was lying in a hospital bed getting questioned by the police about Vicky and the way she treats me? Were you worried then?”

“Cory, I didn’t want to tell my parents. I wanted to keep your secret but-.” He stopped, turning to face me. There was blood under his nose and his shirt was ripped at the collar under his jacket.

“There are not buts, Abby. You did the exact opposite of what I wanted you to do. I begged you not to tell them and you did. And sure enough, I’m in the same spot I was before with even stricter rules. I’m not allowed to leave my room when I’m at home. I can only eat what they let me eat. I can’t even use the bathroom unless I get permission first. All before you couldn’t just be a good friend and not say anything.”

“I was trying to help you! You were getting hurt and I wanted it to stop. It’s not fair that you have to deal with it. How could they not arrest her?”

“Because I told them she wasn’t hurting me.” He replied. “They were talking about sending me upstate to live if they found out she was abusive. So, I lied to stay here.”

“Why would you do that, Cory? You could have gotten away from her for good.”

“Because I don’t want to leave you!” He yelled, causing a few birds to fly out of the trees around us. I jumped as he yelled, shocked at his outburst. “You are the only person I care about, Abby. I don’t want to lose you.”

“I’m not that special. You need to tell them the truth. Find a way to tell them you were lying. Anything to get you out of that house before she kills you.”

“I can’t and I won’t do that, Abz. You need to understand that. I’m trusting you to let me take care of this.”

“Cory-.”

“I mean it. It’s my life and I need to handle this. I don’t need you to save me. I’m not one of your little projects to save the world with or one of your stupid little stories. This is real life. I need you to stay out of it.” His words hurt and he knew it when he saw my face. “Abby, I didn’t mean it.”

“Fine. Do whatever you want then. I’ll stop worrying about you.”

Turning, I stormed towards the path that led back to the school. It was a short walk and even shorter since I was upset. Tears trickled down my face as I walked into the front door. I had only been gone a half hour. The hall monitor made me take a tardy slip before letting me head to my locker. I put my combination into the lock and slammed it open, the door bouncing off the wall. I shoved my backpack into the confined space and grabbed everything I would need for my morning classes. I had history, math, science and Spanish all before lunch and each had it’s one book. Bending down, I piled them in my arms, getting a pen and a notebook as well. All I wanted to do was write. Maybe write something dark and evil about a certain best friend of mine.

Standing up, something on the door of my locker caught my eye. Turning, I saw it was a poorly wrapped object in light green and white wrapping paper. My name was scribbled across the front of it with blue marker. Setting my stuff down, I picked up the present and ripped the paper off the top of it. Inside, there was a pocket-sized thesaurus and a bright purple pen with my name written on the side of it. The cover of the thesaurus stuck out a little bit. Shifting it in my hand, I saw there was a Chinese football tucked inside the middle of the book. Pulling it out, I saw my name written on it. Balancing everything, I unfolded the piece of paper.

Abz-

Sorry it’s late. I couldn’t sneak out to see you. Hope you like it. You can use these to write some more stories with them. Thank you for the knife and for being my friend.

Merry Christmas!

Your friend always,

Cory.

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