A/N- This was a paper I had to write for English, but I like it. So here it is, please r & r! (By the way, just for a bit of extra info, I got the name Kalel from the band Pillar. Yeah! Go Pillar!)

NIKKI

BRING! The phone rang, waking me up from an afternoon nap.

"Hello?" I mumbled into the speaker.

"Uh, hi. Is this Nikki?" a soft voice on the other end said.

"Yeah, it's me. Who is this?"

"Well, my name is Saja, but you don't know me. I don't know you that well, but someone told me to call you."

"Who? Who asked you to call me?"

"Kalel." Kalel. The name brought back floods of unpleasant memories that I had tried to forget years ago. He used to be my best friend in elementary school. We would do everything together, and even though my other friends became jealous and tried to separate us, nothing worked.

"Why?" I queried, finally remembering the stranger on the telephone.

"Nikki, Kalel wants to talk to you."

"Why would I care? Don't you know what he did to me?" I asked, my voice growing rough.

"No, I don't, and you don't have to tell me either. Just listen for a minute. He asked to see you. He thought you would hang up on him, so he asked me to call."

"I probably would have. but tell him no. I'm not coming," I said, then immediately hung up the phone. After sitting on my couch, numb, for a minute, I lay back down and attempted to continue my nap. But sleep didn't come. I tossed and turned for at least an hour, but finally gave up and stumbled into the bathroom to take a shower. The hot, steamy water was refreshing, and soon I was fully awake.

iHe asked to see you,/i the words of Saja bounced around in my head.

"Why would he want to see me?" I muttered out loud. "Why should I go see him after what he did to me?" But for some reason, a strand of invisible thread was pulling at my heart, telling me to go see Kalel.

~*~

KALEL

Saja came back into my room, where I was lounging on my bed. She lowered her eyes and shook her head sadly. "She said to tell you no. She won't come visit." I closed my eyes and tried to accept the rejection. I had been expecting to be snubbed, but a thin strand of hope had told me to try. I deserved it, after what I did to her. But it had been five years. I opened my eyes and looked at Saja.

"Thanks for trying," I whispered to my older brother's wife, then turned onto my side and struggled to fall asleep.

~*~

NIKKI

Immediately following my shower, I called my best friend, Serena. "Hey," I said quietly as she answered her cell phone.

"Hey, Nik. What's up?" she answered excitedly.

"Someone named Saja just called me. She said Kalel asked to see me."

"Dang, girl, you've got problems."

"I think I've already noticed that. What should I do?" There was a silence on Serena's end of the phone line as she contemplated the possibilities.

"If I were you, which I'm sure glad I'm not, then I would go see him. Just to see what he wanted. You never know, it might be something good!"

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks, Serena."

"Anytime."

"Well, I should go then. I'll call you later and tell you how it goes. I'm just afraid that I'll start yelling at him again. I don't think I could ever forgive him."

"Yeah, I know. I'll pray for you."

"Thanks. I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Sure." We said goodbye and hung up. That left me alone with my thoughts once again. Finally, I forced myself to stand up and get ready to go. There was no telling what was going to happen this afternoon.

~*~

KALEL

I was jerked awake from my restless slumber by a knock on the door. "Someone's here to see you, and I think it's Nikki!" Saja told me excitedly.

"Okay," I said, sitting up hurriedly. I glanced at my bedroom door as a girl stepped in. "Nikki?" I asked, and even I could hear the shock and surprise that one word conveyed. She nodded slightly and suddenly seemed interested in the carpet. "Why did you come? I mean, you told Saja you weren't coming." I stammered, trailing off.

"Serena persuaded me to come," she said, her features growing hard as she watched me. "But I don't know why I did. Do you even remember what you did to me?"

Now it was my turn to look away. "Yes," I whispered, wondering if she could hear me. "And now, I really regret it. I lost one of the best friends I had ever had, just to gain the approval of some jerks." I tapered off, drifting into the memory of the day I had lost Nikki.

It was way back in seventh grade, but I still remember it. I had just started to make friends with some of the popular guys at school, and I didn't want to lose it. One night, they invited me to a sleepover at Jake's house. There was no way anyone could have persuaded me out of going at the time; I wanted to be considered cool more than anything. Going to that sleepover was the biggest mistake I made in my life. See, Nikki wasn't considered cool. We were all sitting around in Jake's bedroom, trying to act cool. Soon the topic of conversation turned to girls, and along with ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the cute ones, we began to talk dirty of the un- cool girls, who weren't that ugly either. But in seventh grade, popularity mattered. Before I knew it, the guys were talking about Nikki.

"Have you seen the clothes she wears?" someone commented.

"Yeah, they're hideous!"

"I know!"

Not wanting to be left out of the conversation, I piped up, "She still has a blanket, too!"

"Seriously?"

"Yeah!" I affirmed. And for the rest of the night, I told those jerks all of Nikki's secrets that I knew. The next day, Nikki's secrets were all over school. I saw her look of tortured pain as people tormented her endlessly, since she knew that I was the one who did it. I was the only one she had told her secrets to. Needless to say, she didn't talk to me for the rest of the day. Or the day after. The days turned into weeks, the weeks to months, the months to years, and she still didn't talk to me. She had good reason to, I guess. I had broken her trust. But five years.

I was brought back to the present by Nikki's voice. "So what did you want to talk to me about?" she asked coldly. "I don't want to stay here any longer than I have to." I closed my eyes and tried to summon up a small resource of courage. I glanced up and looked her in the eye.

"I want to ask you to forgive me. That day was the biggest mistake of my entire life. I lost my best friend."

~*~

NIKKI

I stepped back, shocked. Forgiveness? Why should I do that? I thought to myself, outraged. But as I maintained eye contact, something snapped inside of me. In the depths of his gray eyes, I could see that he was truly sorry. And he should be! I thought, my bitterness returning. "Why should I? Give me one good reason," I said aloud. I stared at him as he considered the possibilities and enjoyed watching him sweat. But it wasn't long before he rendered me speechless with an answer I'd never expected.

"Because God has forgiven you." I stood there, stunned, for a few minutes before I was able to continue.

"Oh, since when did you become a religious freak?" I asked, my hollow laughter echoing throughout his bedroom.

Kalel answered calmly, not even noticing that I had deliberately insulted him. "A few weeks ago."

"Great." I muttered under my breath. "My former best friend is now a priest who wants forgiveness. How much worse can it get?"

"A lot worse," Kalel commented, apparently having heard my musings. I sighed and rolled my eyes.

"Okay. Fine. I forgive you. Does that make you feel better?" I remarked harshly.

"You don't mean it." It was a statement, not a question.

"No. I don't. How about I leave now?" He sighed. Good, I thought. At least I'm making it difficult.

"Okay," he said finally. "Go if you want. But can we talk again later?"

"I don't care," I yelled over my shoulder as I dashed out of his bedroom.

~*~

KALEL

"That went well," I said to no one in particular as I heard the front door slam. I sat up and plodded over to my computer signing into AOL instant messenger. I heard the distinctive sound of a door creaking open and found that my youth pastor, Kyle, was online. It wasn't long before an instant message from IAmALoser05 popped onto my screen.

IAmALoser05: Hey, how's it going?

Kalel034: Not too good. I talked to Nikki. She's still mad at me. What should I do?

Kalel034: I am lost right now

IAmALoser05: Well, I was just recently reading through Hebrews and read a verse that might help

IAmALoser05: it's Hebrews 13:1

IAmALoser05: "continue to love each other with true Christian love"

IAmALoser05: just keep being a friend to Nikki even if she's still mean to you

Kalel034: ok thank you

IAmALoser05: that's the most I can give right now... I'll try and look through the Bible to see if there's any more

Kalel034: I don't know if my life can go up. I tried to coax our friendship back, but it didn't work!

IAmALoser05: here's another verse that might help

Kalel034: I don't know what to feel

IAmALoser05: James 4:10

IAmALoser05: "when you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence to him, he will lift you up and give you honor"

IAmALoser05: the lord will always be there for you no matter what never forget that

IAmALoser05: ah! Another verse! Philippians 4:6-7

Kalel034: I'm not going to give up on God for he has been the only person that I could fully depend on lately

IAmALoser05: "don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far greater than the human mind can understand..."

IAmALoser05: No I never thought that you were giving up. I just thought you could use a little bit of encouragement

Kalel034: thank you

IAmALoser05: even though I'm a youth pastor, sometimes I need to be reminded to pray and depend fully on God... it's not always the easiest thing for me to remember

Kalel034: yeah

Kalel034: I'll be doing a lot of prayer

IAmALoser05: so will I - I'll pray for the both of you

Kalel034: thanks. I should go though.

Kalel034: talk to you Sunday

IAmALoser05: All right. Bye

Kalel034: bye

I leaned back in my chair, feeling a lot better and more willing to talk to Nikki again. This is all so complicated! I thought as I ran my hand through my hair worriedly. I reached over to my CD player and turned it on, hoping that listening to Pillar would help me not to think about it for a while. As I heard the familiar chords of the electric guitar on the song Fireproof, I lay back on my bed and drifted into sleep.

~*~

NIKKI

"Hey Serena," I said gloomily into the phone.

"Hey!" she greeted me, perky as usual. "What's wrong?" she added, noticing my tone of voice. "How'd it go?"

"Of all things, Kalel wanted my forgiveness! Can you believe it?"

"Actually, I can. What did you say?"

"I said, 'No, forget it.' Or something like that." There was a brief silence on the other end. "What?" I asked. "You think I should have told him that I forgive him?"

"Yeah, actually I do. It's been five years, Nikki! Can't you give the poor guy a break?"

I sighed. "I'll try, Serena, I really will. But I want to make sure he regrets that day."

"Nikki, I think he already does. Otherwise he wouldn't be trying to talk to you."

"I suppose you're right."

"Of course I am!" she joked. "No, really; I think you should call him."

"Me? Call him? Yeah right!"

"I'm sorry Nik, but I bet you seriously discouraged the guy. I'd say call him while you have some nerve."

"I guess. Stop being so persuasive!"

"Ha ha - You know it's for your own good."

"I know; I was just kidding."

"Good. Now, I'm going to get off the phone so you can call Kalel."

"Oh, thanks a lot," I said sarcastically.

"Anytime."

"Whatever. See you later then."

"Good luck. See you later!"

"Adios, mi amiga."

"Sayonara!" I heard a click on the other end as Serena hung up the phone. Rats, now I have to call him, I thought. Otherwise Serena will never let me forget it. I summoned up all my courage and dialed Kalel's phone number.

"Hello?" Kalel yelled into the phone. I could hear Pillar blasting in the background.

"Hi," I replied quietly.

"Nikki?" he said incredulously.

"Yeah," I continued as I heard the music turn down a few decibels.

"What's up?"

I paused, unsure of how to begin. "Well." I stammered. There was another pause. "Can I talk to you in person again?" I asked, nearly losing my nerve. "Today? Now?"

"Sure," he replied, sounding mystified.

"Okay. Bye!" I said, hurriedly hanging up the phone.

~*~

KALEL

Nikki's call surprised me. I had figured that I would be the one making the call again in a few days. But she had said she was going to come over! I might have another chance! A few minutes later, the doorbell rang downstairs. I leaped off my bed and quickly made my way downstairs, fearing that she would leave.

"Hey," she said as I yanked open the door.

"Hey. Come on in." We made our way back to my bedroom, where Pillar could still be heard quietly playing. "So. what did you want to talk about?" I asked, trying to break the ice.

Nikki shuffled her feet nervously. "Um." she began. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for being angry and that yes, I do forgive you." It all came out in one, long sentence. I looked into her eyes to see if she meant it. Her brown eyes reflected true forgiveness. I smiled slowly as a great burden was lifted off my shoulders.

"Thank you," I whispered. "Can we try to be friends again?"

"I guess," she said, her eyes hardening. "But don't expect me to trust you anytime soon. I may have forgiven you, but I'm not going to trust you."

"I deserve that. You don't know how much I regret that day. I'm just thankful that you can forgive me. It means the world."

"Yeah, okay," she said, finally beginning to smile. "You can stop with the mushy stuff now."

"Deal." We high-fived, just like in the old days. I've overcome one obstacle. Now, I need to work at regaining her trust. But hey, one step at a time! At least I have my best friend back! I thought jubilantly.

~*~

NIKKI

I left Kalel's house feeling a lot better than I had. Maybe someday I could learn to trust him again, but it might take a while. I still wasn't positive I had made the right decision in forgiving, but it made Kalel happy. In time, I'm sure that I will be too. In time. Meanwhile, I headed over to the phone to call Serena. I'm sure that she would want to hear how it went. I easily dialed her number, and called into the speaker as she answered. "Hey girl! You'll never guess what happened."

TIME HEALS ALL HURTS.

-Whoever that one guy is who said it.