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Chapter 7
*One month later*

    Renae was getting her portable CD player out of her backpack when she got out of class.  Of course, not really paying attention to where she was going, she bumped into someone when she stepped outside.  "Oh, I'm sorry!" she gasped until she looked up at a beautiful, cheerful smile that had become all to familiar to her.  "Hey baby!  What are you doing here?" she asked as she looked at Isaac.
    "Thought I'd walk home with you," Isaac said.
    "Gosh, this reminds of high school," she chuckled as she put up her portable CD player, zipped up her bag, and put it on her back.  "Then let's go!"  They walked down the street, relating what had happened in their days.  Isaac was patiently listening to her vent about someone in her class.
    "I mean, we're supposed to be doing this group project, and this guy almost refuses to do a single thing.  I sometimes wonder why he's even in college if he doesn't want to get an education.  I oughta tell him off," she said.
    "I'd like to see that happen," Isaac said.
    "Oh?" Renae raised her eyebrows.  "Why do you say that?"
    "Because you're too sweet.  You can't even hurt a fly!" Isaac replied.
    Renae faced him.  "Oh yeah?  Come on, put 'em up, put 'em up!" she replied, balling her hands into fists and playfully hopping in front of him.  She started to lightly punch him in the arms when he grabbed both of her wrists.  They stared looking at each other for a few seconds, looking into each other's faces.  Both started to draw towards each other; their lips were almost touching when Renae pulled away abruptly and turned to continue walking down the sidewalk.  She felt Isaac grab her shoulder and turn her around.
    "What is the matter Renae?" Isaac asked, slightly annoyed but more concerned.
    "Nothing Isaac," Renae replied quickly, feeling her chest tighten with anxiety.  She really didn't want to get into this right now.
    "Yes, something is the matter," Isaac argued back.  "We've been seeing each other for 2 months now, and everytime I try to kiss you, you pull away.  Are you really interested in me?"
    "Yes Isaac!  Of course I am, but..."
    "But what?  Is it another guy?"
    "No.  I don't want to talk about it."
    "We have to talk about it Renae," Isaac argued more insistently.
    "No, we don't," Renae argued back.
    "Yes, we do."
    "FINE!" Renae yelled.  "You wanna know what's wrong?!  I don't want a guy getting close to me; my mom's boyfriend sexually abused me for 3 freakin' years, and she didn't believe me when I told her!  He made me feel dirty, and cheap, and he HURT me Isaac.  I'm not getting hurt again by any man!"

    Isaac just stared in shock down at Renae.  Sexually abused? he thought.  Still dumbstruck, he couldn't move as Renae ran down the sidewalk and disappeared around a corner.  He just couldn't imagine it.  All these months, she had been pulling away from him.  God, how could he be so stupid and insensitive?  Isaac felt really selfish at that moment.  He decided to walk to her apartment.
    He stood in front of her apartment door, wondering if it was the right thing to do--to go to her this soon.  Oh well, give it a shot he told himself.  He knocked on the door and waited for a few seconds until he saw the door open a crack and Renae's face in the crack.
    "I don't think you should be here," she said.
    "Please, Renae," Isaac pleaded.  He couldn't hide the emotion in his voice.  "Please, let me come in to talk to you.  I know that I was being selfish, but I think we should talk."  He didn't know what it was, but something made her open the door to let him in.
    "Let's go to my room," she said quietly, "so we don't wake up Anne."  He followed her into her room, which was sparsely decorated, but with lots of light streaming in through the windows.  He grabbed the chair in front of the desk as Renae sat on the bed.  There were a few moments of silence; Isaac didn't want to push her again.  He would let her go at her own pace.  He heard her take a deep breath.
    "What do you want to know?" Renae asked.
    "Everything," Isaac answered.

    "Well, you already know that my mom divorced my dad about 5 years ago.  She met her boyfriend shortly after that; he seemed pretty cool.  My mom was happy being with him, and he was always really nice to me.  However, after going out for a few months with my mom, he came over one afternoon when she was working late.  I told him that she wasn't there, but he said he would wait.  I went back to my room to finish up some homework, and he came in later, and he-" Renae had to stop and take another deep breath.  Her chest was tight, and it was taking her every bit of strength to get this out.  She had not told anyone since she left, and it was one of the hardest things to do at this moment.  "He raped me.  And after that, he told me that if I told anyone, then he would kill me.  This went on, and on, and on, for several months, until I finally got tired of it and told my mother.  The only thing was that she was so lovestruck that she didn't believe me.  There was nothing I could do, and I faced up to it.  He would do his thing, and I would keep silent."  She was crying, and when Isaac came and sat down next to her on the bed, she really didn't care.
    "Why didn't you go to the police?" he asked gently.
    She looked up at him.  "How would they believe me if my own mother didn't believe me?  Some story would be concocted and I would look like a fool.  It would just be easier to let it happen," she sobbed, tears rolling down her face even more.  Isaac took her into his arms and just held her as she cried into his chest.
    "Do you think I would hurt you?" Isaac asked softly.
    "No, but-"
    "There are no "but"s about it.  I'm not like him, and I would never do something to intentionally hurt you."  Renae rested her head on Isaac's chest, sniffling with a few tears rolling down her cheeks.  She felt him run his hand over her hair soothingly, comforting her.  No, he won't hurt me, she thought.  He's different, and he wasn't scared away...She lifted her head and leaned in slowly to him, giving him a featherlight kiss.

    Isaac was taken by surprise.  She had leaned up and kissed him, giving him such a sweet kiss.  He closed his eyes and kissed back, slowly and tenderly.  When they finally pulled apart, he looked at her looking at him.  He saw her blush slightly.
    "Ummm, I think you better go," she replied.  "I need to get some homework done before I go into work."
    "That's okay," Isaac replied, getting up from the bed.  She escorted him down the stairs.  "I need to be heading back to the college to get my car," he told her.
    "Okay," she said, and they shared one more kiss before he walked off.  After walking a few steps, he turned to see Renae still at the bottom of her stairs, blushing slightly when she was caught.  He smiled at her, then continued onto the college with a lighter feeling.