A few days after Elliott’s misadventure, we found out that the thunderstorm he got stuck in was one of the worst that our town had ever encountered and Elliott was lucky that he came back when he did. Very lucky indeed. We decided that we needed to celebrate and met up at our usual spot on the beach…we invited a big crowd…including our romantic interests. But who we didn’t invite was Brittany Pepper and her boyfriend Travis. Travis was an even meaner bully than Brittany…I lost count of how many times he tripped Elliott or pantsed him in the cafeteria. Humiliation was his form of abuse. I knew trouble was brewing when he walked over to Elliott, stuck his finger in his face, and told him “It’s too bad you and your little boat didn’t sink together in that storm.” Elliott walked away…he wasn’t a fighter. But me…I was the opposite. I punched Travis in the face as hard as I could and left him there crumpled on the ground. When I caught up with Elliott, I saw that he was crying. He rested his head on my shoulder while I held him. Inside my heart was breaking for him but I didn’t say anything…because sometimes, silence is the best comfort.