Secrets, Chapter Five

**I know the Higher Ground section isn't frequented as often as it use to be, but people are reading the story. Please review! I don't know what to fix if I get no reviews!**

Author's Note: This is a re-do of a story I did 8 years ago. The original story is in my profile. I still get questions regarding my Kristin stories every once in awhile, and I can't really think of any way to do a story solely on her so I decided to do this instead. The original version is pretty bad/unrealistic so a LOT has changed, but the same basic plot and details are the same. I also changed some names because I was pretty dumb in 7th grade and used a lot of names of people I knew IRL.

Summary: Twelve-year-old Kristin Maddox is given a spot at Horizon after a call from her band teacher to his best friend, Peter Scarbrow. He doesn't know what her secrets are, but he knows something is horribly wrong, and Peter may be the only one who can save her.

Another Author's Note: I went a longgggggg time without updating. Sorry! I graduated college 2 weeks ago and moved to another state and the job market for teachers took a turn for the worst so more than likely I won't have a teaching job for 1-2 years, so I'm looking at having a lot of free time until I can find a temporary full time job

Once everyone had sat down, Peter cleared his throat to let them know that he was ready to start.

"So, some of you have already been introduced to Kristin. Kristin, why don't you tell everybody a little about yourself?" Peter asked.

"Uh, I'm in 7th grade, I have an older brother named Steven, he's a junior. I live with my dad and Steven. I was in band. I-I don't really know what to talk about," she said, looking at Peter and shrugging.

"That's good enough for them," Peter smiled encouragingly at her. "Today, like we usually do when we get new people, I want you to introduce yourself and tell Kristin why you're here—as much or as little as possible."

"Daisy. I'm here because I was too bitter and dark for my parents to take anymore," Daisy smiled as if the thought made her proud.

"Juliette. I had an eating disorder. I basically came here to get into a better state of mind and away from my mom for a little bit," she smiled at Kristin and laughed uneasily.

"I'm Auggie, which is short for Augosto. I'm here because I had to got off the streets before something bad went down."

"Ezra. My parents adopted me to save their message. We were all failures," he grinned and raised an eyebrow.

Sometimes when the kids were describing themselves, Peter and Sophie had to stop themselves from interfering. They wanted the kids to learn how to work through their issues, but it was a fine line between working through their issues and downing on their self. Ezra was one of the worst at this.

"David. I'm basically awesome. I'm here because I was too awesome for Father to handle."

Peter sighed. And then there was David.

"I'm Scott. My stepmom was a skank and my dad couldn't handle that fact," he mumbled. He had spoken to his father that day which led to his uncharacteristically bitter response.

"Shelby. I didn't want to stay home anymore," she said simply. Kristin looked up and met her eyes, knowing that feeling, more than anyone else's response.

"Kristin? Do you want to talk a bit about why you're here?" Sophie asked softly.

Kristin shrugged. "My band teacher thought it'd be a good idea to be nosy," she said. It was a response that typical "newbies" gave; they didn't want to reveal any of their troubles so they blamed their arrival on meddling neighbors, social workers, relatives, or law enforcement.

"Okay, well it's been pretty chaotic today so I'm not going to keep you guys for long. You all need to keep up your grades because progress reports and being released Friday and if you haven't met at least one of your goals, privileges will start to be taken away. Some of you are seriously slacking on school work and I would hate for your hard work to be unraveled because of some temporary laziness. Behavior is another issue your teachers are reporting. I'm not quite sure what the issue is, but talking and rowdiness needs to quit. Another thing: chores. The boys' dorm bathroom is looking a little disgusting. Clean it. Same thing for you girls. You all know the drill, and you've all been here for at least six months. You know to make your beds, make sure your area is clean, and to help with the bathroom. Those of you with shuns this week better report at the time you're told," Peter said, hardly pausing to take a breath.

"Geez, Peter," Shelby muttered but didn't continue when Peter gave her a look.

"I don't lecture you guys very often, but it seems like it needs to be done. Sophie, do you have anything to add?"

"Yeah. Some of you girls—you know who you are," she said, and looked pointedly at Shelby, "are getting a little catty with the girls from some of the other dorms. Let's not say anything if we can't say anything at all," she said slowly and in a higher-pitched voice that made everyone grin.

"Any questions?"

"How do we find out if we have shuns in case we forgot?" David asked sheepishly.

Peter fought the urge to roll his eyes. "You're David. You probably have shuns," he only half-joked.

"You definitely do, all kidding aside," Sophie said, "I told you to stop changing the timers on the sprinklers!"

"That was you? You got my math homework soaked!" Juliette exclaimed.

"Yeah! So I couldn't do my math homework, either!" Ezra added.

Peter rubbed his temples. It had been a day and it seemed like his 'kids' were having spring fever. This may call for a hike soon.

"Go. Please!" Peter pretended to beg. "Except you, Kristin."

Kristin watched the others go, full of envy. She could only imagine what she had done wrong or what else he could possibly throw at her.

"So I know we've gone over a lot but Sophie and I just wanted to go over a few more things now that they're about to go run and do homework since progress reports are coming up, so they'll be out of our hair," Peter smiled at her.

She sat expectantly, looking at them.

"I think the biggest thing we want you to know, again, is that we are always here, day and night, if you need to talk. I think you have a lot to say, but I know you're probably not ready to talk. Jack told us a lot of his suspicions-"

"Mr. Davis needs to mind his own fucking business! He's the reason why all this shit even got started!" She snapped angrily.

"Watch your mouth," he started, "and what did he start?"

She threw her arms up. "This! My dad said he's sending me to a school for…I can't say," she said sarcastically, "because I have to watch my mouth. But basically, like usual, I'm a screw-up. Mr. Davis is an idiot." She almost felt bad for talking about him that way.

"What do you think he thinks about you?"

"That my dad hits me. He doesn't. I play outside, I get hurt. What's the big deal?" She said, and it almost came out pleadingly. "I'm so sick of him thinking that when it's not true. He has to be careful," she rambled.

"Why does he think that stuff, though? You don't think he has any reasoning?"

"I don't know what his reasoning is. I'm not an idiot like him," she snarled, her hands making tiny fists.

"He says that you do have a lot of bruises—but also welts, scratches. Black eyes. You're scared. You seem anxious constantly. You flinch. You basically have almost all the warning signs of a child who is being physically abused," Peter explained.

She just stared at him. "I'm not. What else do you want?" She asked through clenched teeth.

He decided to drop the issue for now—pushing her too early could cause her to break or become distant with them.

"The schedule. Today is Sunday so they really have a lot of free time these days. Once they're done with their chores, they're left to their own devices. Most of them catch up on school work. A lot of them read, play sports, sometimes there is a visit home or relatives visit. A few of them choose weekends to talk about what's bothering them since the week days are a little more hectic. Saturdays are basically the same except sometimes we'll take them out to town so they don't forget what it's like."

"During the week, you're up by 7. Breakfast is at 8. Clean-up is between 8:30 and 9. School is between 9 and 2. Then you'll have exploratory classes between 2 and 3. That's when you'll do art, computer, and health. PE is twice a week. Free time is between 3 and 5. That is when the kids do school work, shuns if they need to, chores if they weren't finished in the morning, or just whatever. Dinner is at 5:30. If it is your group's turn to do the kitchen, you'll start at around 6:30. You must be in your dorm by 9, so basically between 6:30 and 9—unless you're doing kitchen—is more free time. But if we're having group, that'll be during that time period. Sophie will come in and talk to you at around 9 and after that you'll be able to do whatever in your dorm. Lights out is 10. Any questions?"

Kristin shook her head.

"Go on and talk to some of your new classmates. They may need your help with homework," Sophie said.