Getting the other girls to agree was proving to be harder then Julia thought, she figured all she had to do was tell them Justin was on trial for raping her and if they came forward, they could make sure he got put away for a long time. She thought they would want some sort of closure, but they were content with going on without ever telling anyone what Justin had done to them. Julia did everything she could think of, she begged, pleaded and cried, but nothing was working. She was about to give up, all the strength she had felt the day she found the blog was slowly evaporating, along with the hope. With each email she got back saying “no”, with each email she sent out begging for them to change their mind and with each day that passed she felt weaker and weaker. She was slowly backsliding, back to the way she was before the blog.
Julia was about to give up when she got an email, it was from one of the girls that had posted a comment on the blog. She knew, she just knew that it was another email saying that she wouldn’t testify, wouldn’t report Justin. Julia was half-tempted not to even open the email, to just close down her computer and walk away from it all, but something made her click on that email, and what Julia found brought her hope back to life:
My name is Carlyn, you contacted me yesterday about Justin Black. I had been hearing rumors for quite some time that he was on trial for rape, but I didn’t believe, it was too much too hope for. So, as you can imagine, when I got your email late last night my hope was restored!
I would like to say that I am sorry for what Justin did to and the effects that it has had on you. I have not told anyone about the rape, so I do not know if I can be of much help. I, like you, have HIV but my mom and everyone else believe that it is because I “slept around”.
I would love to help you Julia, but I don’t know how. I am scared, what will happen if he doesn’t get put in jail? If I come forward and he doesn’t go to jail, I will not be able to live in this town, living here is already hard.
You see Julia I am alone in this. At home, school, church, everywhere. I have nobody. And I can’t stand up to Justin on my own.
I could use someone to talk to, and I can imagine that you could too. So please, don’t hesitate to call, my number is 358-6110.
Again, I am sorry,
Maybe it wasn’t the perfect email, this Carlyn didn’t say that she would testify, or even file a report, but she didn’t say that she wouldn’t testify either! This was the chance Julia had been looking for, all she had to do was call her, talk to her, let her know that she wasn’t alone. Then maybe, just maybe she would find the courage to testify, to put this monster behind bars. Carlyn’s hope wasn’t the only one that had been restored, Julia’s had been too!
Julia wanted to call her right away, but it was already 2am on a Monday, she would have to wait until later. Julia went to her room where Rick was waiting for her, reading. When she came into the room, he could tell instantly that something was different, that she was different. Rick smiled at her, he watched he gather her things for a shower, the way she did every night, but with a different air, a happier one. When Julia turned around and saw Rick smiling at her she couldn’t help but smile too.
“What?” She had asked him with a chipper tone in her voice.
“Nothing.” He had replied, still smiling..
“Don’t say ‘nothing’. I know your thinking about something. What is it?”
“You’re different tonight.” He said after a few minutes of hesitation.
“What do you mean different?” She asked, her mood spiraling down quickly.
“You’re happy. I like it. I’ve missed seeing you smile!”
“I’ve missed smiling!” Julia said as she walked over to Rick and kissed him on the cheek.
The next morning, Julia wanted to call Carlyn, but she was having second thoughts. What if she couldn’t convince her to testify? Julia debated with herself, if she didn’t call she would never know whether or not she had a chance, whether Carlyn would’ve agreed to help or not. She decided to call, the worst she could do is say “no”, and Julia had already heard that from everyone else so what was one more time? Now, all she had to do was build up the courage to call her, to take the last step off the cliff.
“Hello?”a girl's voice answered. She sounded confused.
“Hello is this Carlyn?” Julia had asked, crossing her fingers hoping it was.
“Yes. And this is?”
“Hi Carlyn, it’s Julia. I emailed you the other day...about Justin Black.”
“Oh. Hi,” Carlyn replied, terror dripping from her voice like venom.
“You told me I could call you. It’s okay, isn’t it?” Julia had asked, rethinking the whole thing.
“Yeah it’s fine. I just wasn’t expecting a call so soon. I only emailed you last night...”
“Well, I was going to call you after I got your email but I figured you would have school this morning and thought you would need your sleep.”
“Umm. No I don’t have school, I dropped out after...you know.”
“Really?!” Julia asked, shocked.
“Yeah, I couldn’t take the abuse or rumors anymore, it was too hard.”
“I know how that is, the only reason I’m sticking it out is because this is my senior year.”
“Well I’m only sophomore, I can’t take two more years of this.”
“A sophomore?!”Julia was shocked again, “How long ago did Justin rape you?”
“I was a freshman, so about a year ago.”
“That pig!” Julia spat the word out.
“I’m sorry, but what did you want? I don’t want to sound rude but it’s still hard for me to talk about.”
“I was hoping I could talk to you about my trial, I could really use your help, you might be my only hope Carlyn. Our only hope. Will you please testify?”
“How do you do it? How do you face him every day, in court, school, all of it? How can you do something like that alone?”
“I couldn’t do it alone. But I have my family, and Rick, my boyfriend.”
“Your boyfriend stayed with you knowing you have HIV?!” It was Carlyn’s turn to sound shocked.
“Yes he did, Rick loves me and will never leave me, no matter how much I tell him to.”
“See, you have Rick, you aren’t alone! I would be all by myself, facing my worst nightmare alone.”
“Don’t you see, Carlyn? You aren’t alone either! I’m here for you, I’ll help, and so will my family and Rick!”
“Why would you do that? We just met.”
“Because we have something in common, and we can’t do this without each other. If you don’t testify he will be let go, he will be able to hurt someone else! It is me against him and all his friends, family and admirers. I will be the only one there to say anything negative about him, but if you are there, and they see that he hasn’t done this to just me, we’ll have a chance!” Julia had explained to Carlyn, her voice breaking at the end.
“You’ll help me? And so will your family?”
“Yes! I have a little sister, she’s in middle school, and she is one of the biggest helps for me.”
“Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll testify.” Carlyn finally said, sounding more scared then before.
“Oh thank you so much, Carlyn!” Julia exclaimed, tears running down her face.
“What do we do next?”
“Come to my house tomorrow, you can meet my family, and we will talk about it some more. Then we’ll set up an appointment to go see my lawyer.” Julia gave Carlyn her address.
“Fine,” Carlyn replied, hanging up not waiting for a reply.
Julia was ecstatic; she had gone dancing through the house like a little girl and pretending to be a beautiful, graceful ballerina. When she got to the kitchen and saw Keira and Rick standing there with confused looks on their faces, she stopped, looked at the two of them, and just smiled! She smiled so wide her cheeks hurt, they felt like they were going to fall off of her face.
“What’s going on?” Keira and Rick had asked simultaneously, wearing identical masks of confusion.
“She said yes!” Julia had screamed while running into Rick’s arms and holding him tight.
“Who said yes to what?” Keira had asked, still looking confused.
"Carlyn said that she would testify against Justin!” Julia shouted, excitedly.
“OH! MY! GOD! That’s great Julia!” Keira screamed as she wrapped her arms around both Julia and Rick.
“But she said she could only do it if she has your guys support. You guys will support her...won’t you?” Julia asked, pulling away from their group hug as the familiar feeling of worry washed over her.
“DUH!” Keira had exclaimed.
“Of course, sweetie!” Rick had told Julia, kissing her on the head.
“I’ve got an idea,” Julia said excitedly, “Lets skip school! We can call’em, tell them I’m sick and need you to take care of me. Then I’ll call Keira’s school pretend to be my mom, say she’s sick and then the three of us can spend the day together and celebrate!”
“I’m game!” Keira had agreed, just as excitedly as Julia.
“Anything for my girls” Rick had replied, pulling the two of them into another group hug.