The Baby-Sitters Club belongs to Ann M. Martin

I was in the school library during study hall when I heard a noise. A librarian noticed there was a fight and went over to break it up. They both got thrown out. One of them was a bully. She probably told a girl something she didn't like. The rule is that no matter who starts it, both students can get in trouble.

My best friend, Kaylee, was with me.

"That was odd," said Kaylee.

"I know," I agreed. "Maybe I'll talk to her after school."

"Good idea," said Kaylee.

Her twin, Kayla, couldn't attend school anymore. She has cancer and has no time left.

I'm Mary Anne Spier. I'm 15 and attend Stoneybrook High School for tenth grade.

After school, I asked Kaylee to speak that bully alone.

"Certainly," replied Kaylee.

I somehow went to the bully and said, "Was everything okay?"

"The girl was trying to beat me up," said the bully.

"That's not good. My advice is that if it happens, walk away. Two wrongs don't make it right. It's not worth it," I said.

She was shocked about my advice and said, "Gee. I never thought of that. Thanks. I'm Joyce."

"I'm Mary Anne," I said.

"I have some issues lately. My parents are divorced and I just moved here from Arizone with my mom. It's hard to adjust things like that," said Joyce.

"Is that why you've been acting mean if you don't mind me asking?" I asked as she nodded. "It's a good idea to talk to someone about your issues. I'm sure it'll take some time."

"Thanks," smiled Joyce.

I'm glad I found out what the problem was, but she made me promise not to mention it to anyone.

"I promise, my lips are sealed," I said.

"Thank you," said Joyce. "What if people find out we're friends?"

"Don't worry, we can wait and see how it goes before mentioning to anyone," I said.

I do know if you think I'd get Cokie Mason to be nice, think again. She's the toughest one to deal with. I was going home with the girl, who was named Martha, came to me and thanked me for talking to her. I didn't break my promise about her issue, so when she asked me what she told me, I said I don't know anything about it. I didn't want to take a risk of losing her as a new friend.

At home, I was doing homework when Dawn said, "I can't believe you had the nerve to talk to Joyce the bully."

"She was okay with it. I talked to her. The best thing to deal with some bullies is to be nice to them. That way they'll be nice to you as well," I said skipping that telling her bullies can talk about issues. "Martha, who was teased, thanked me. What happened was they had a fight in the school library and the librarian broke it up and they both got thrown out."

"But I doubt your dad would approve the friendship though. I'm worried Joyce could be mean to you," said Dawn.

"Don't say anything, I want to wait and see what happens first," I said.

"You're going to be deep trouble if your dad finds out," warned Dawn.

"I'm sure Dad won't mind. He hasn't met her yet," I said.

"Actually, he did when he met her mother. He was mad because Joyce was rude and had bad manners. He did not want her in his office and the mother didn't blame him for that," said Dawn. "That's why I don't think you girls should be friends. Would you want to be friends with rude people? Of course not."

I never knew that since I just met Joyce and she didn't have any bad manners. She wasn't rude either. I know it's hard to adjust a new area. I didn't say anything though. I don't know if I should mention it to my friends, they're pretty good with keeping secrets, too. I should check with Joyce first before going ahead to do it. But I don't know what they would say if they found out I made friends with a bully. So, I changed my mind not to do it. I didn't want them to think I was a traitor.

Yes, I know, they'd watch out for me, but I knew telling them might not be a good idea because if they repeat it to Dad, I could get into trouble like Dawn said. And, I know Joyce might blame it on me and might not able to trust me about secrets. I never break a promise and I don't want to do that either.