It did not take long for the news of Claire to spread, Lawrence’s friends tried to talk to him about it, but Lawrence made it clear that he didn’t want to talk about it. So without question, the subject was dropped. Weeks passed, Lawrence eventually spoke to his friends again, a smile returned to his face. One day before school Lawrence sat with Heather in the almost empty cafeteria, he was scared to talk to Heather, now that he fully understood his feelings toward her. He was worried he would say something stupid. He did hide these feelings however, never knowing if now was the right time to tell her, if it was right to make a move? Even if he did would she share the feeling, or would it all have been in vain?
“Hey Lawrence I need to ask a favor of you.” Heather said.
“Anything.” Lawrence replied.
“I have to leave halfway through school today, do you think you could bring over any homework we have?” she said with a small smile.
“Ya, sure, no problem.” Lawrence said returning the smile.
The day progressed and like she said Heather was gone by lunch. Lawrence sat with Eugene and Tyler. Eugene was never really the same after he and Anna broke up. As they sat together and ate their lunches Lola walked by a shot another wink toward Lawrence. Eugene and Tyler both saw this and were dumbfounded.
“What was that about?” asked Eugene.
“What?” replied Lawrence confused.
“What do you mean ‘what’, Lola Valentine just walked by and shot you a ‘come hither’ glances and you didn’t even flinch.” Tyler told him.
“Oh, you mean that, ya I don’t know, that’s been happening a lot recently.” Lawrence explained.
“Well, you going to go for it?” asked Eugene.
“What? No, she’s not my type.”
“Come on man, it’s obvious you’ve been friend zoned by Heather, so maybe it’s time you look around and find someone to start a relationship with.”
“Shut up.” Lawrence told him with an annoyed look on his face. “You sound like you're talking about marriage anyway. I mean, Eugene, were in high school.”
With that they continued to eat their food. After school Lawrence gathered the assignments he got for Heather and went off toward her home. Lawrence approached the door and knocked, the door slowly creaked open as he did. The lights were on so Lawrence assumed that someone was home. He slowly entered, when he did he heard something from up stairs, running water, like a shower.
“Hello?” called out Lawrence as he waited for an answer, the water stopped and a voice replied. Heathers by the sound of it.
“Who’s there?” asked the voice.
“It’s Lawrence, I um, I brought over the stuff you wanted.”
“Great, I’ll be right down.”
A few moments later Heather came down the stairs, her gold blonde hair was still wet from the water, the smell of fruit filled the air. She looked like she had just put on the first thing she could find. An old Hollywood Undead T-shirt, and sweatpants.
“Thanks Lawrence.” Heather said. giving him a hug, her wet hair landed on his shoulder and his jacket soaked up some water. “Oh sorry about that.”
“It’s fine.” Lawrence said with a slight laugh. They stood there for a minute, just looking at one another. Lawrence then placed the extra papers on the near by table.
“I, um, I’m going go. I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Lawrence said as he was leaving.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Lawrence.” Heather said.
Then Lawrence made his way home, to get a well needed sleep.
The next morning was Saturday, Lawrence tried to sleep in but was disrupted by tapping on his window. Lawrence looked out to see Heather standing on the roof waving to him, Lawrence wrapped his comforter around him and walked over to his window.
As he opened his window he asked, “Heather what are you doing here?”
“Just thought I’d stop by and see if you wanted to hang out.” Heather told him with a smile.
Lawrence chuckled slightly before continuing, “OK, I’ll meet you by the lake, I just need to make sure my little sister is taken care of.”
With that Heather jumped down to the ground Lawrence looked down at her, as she was leaving she called up to him, “Just don’t keep me waiting.”
Lawrence made Scarlet breakfast, gathered his Ipod and raced off toward the lake. He listened to his music the whole way there, he was lost in his own mind almost to the point he walked right by the lake. Heather was sitting on a small grassy hill overlooking the lake, she had her own pair of Skullcandy headphones in. Her shirt was faded and worn, but the image of an eagle could still be seen. She had a hoodie that was nearly too small and old jeans with a tear in the right knee. To some people she would look trashy, or rebellious, or even homeless, but to Lawrence she was beautiful.
Lawrence sat next to her and she pulled out he headphones and turned down the volume on her own Ipod, Lawrence did the same. From their they discussed music, school, movies, life, and basically anything they cared to talk about.
“So Lawrence have you found anyone to ask to the dance?” asked Heather out of the blue.
“Dance?” Lawrence said confused.
“What? Don’t tell me you don’t know about it?”
“No I do, it’s just that I don’t go to dances much.”
“Is this because you can’t dance?”
“No, well, yes and I just find them boring.”
“Ya, I don’t like school dances ethier. I was just wondering if you were going.” Heather said with another smile which revealed her white teeth.
“Just out of curiosity, if you were to go who would you ask?” she continued.
“I don’t know? A friend probably, I just don’t like school dances because if you do show up with a friend everyone thinks there's something more, even if there isn’t.”
“Ya, so what kind of friend would you go with?”
“Maybe I’ll go with Tyler, give the kids at school something to talk about?” Lawrence said laughing as he said it.
Heather also laughed, but her laugh had a bit more worry to it, “So what about that Valentine girl?”
“She’s not my type.”
“So what is you type?”
“Oh, I don’t know? Um, a girl like you I guess.”
“What?” Heather asked with a shocked expression on her face.
Lawrence only then realized what he said, his heart had formed words instead of his brain, he then did his best to cover up what he said.
“Did you just say a girl like me?” Heather continued.
“What? No, I said, um, I don’t have a type.” Lawrence said as he stated to turn red with embarrassment.
“I’m certain you said a girl like me.”
“I didn’t, I said I didn’t have a type.”
“Then why is you face turning all red?”
“Um, I have allergies.”
“Sure you do, toward what?”
“So let me get this straight, you have an allergy towers water that causes you face to turn the color of a tomato, and yet you suggested that we meet at the lake?”
“Um, yes, not very good planning on my part.” Lawrence said his eyes moving rapidly back on forth.
Heather then started to laugh uncontrollably,“OK, whatever you say Lawrence.” she said.
Lawrence could see he had thrown her off of what he said. He quickly changed the subject and they spent the rest of the afternoon sitting by the lake and talking. To Lawrence it was one of the best places to be in the entire world. After about another twenty minutes Lawrence and Heather went off in the direction of town. Lawrence and Heather made their way toward a Verizon store, so Lawrence could get a new phone. When they entered the store Heather went off in the direction of phone displays and Lawrence approached the counter.
“Can I help you?” asked the man behind the counter, he was an older man with a long brown beard and large tattoo sleeve on his right arm.
“I need a new phone.” Lawrence replied pulling a ziplock bag from his pocket containing what was left of his phone.
“Christ, kid what happened?” the man asked.
“I, um, I fell.’ lawrence told him doing his best to hide the real reason he was there.
“OK, well let me take a look.” the man said as he took the bag from Lawrence and started to type on his computer, “So you're Lawrence Walker right?”
“Well you’re in luck, the warranty is still valid so I can replace your phone and the SD card is in tact so I can transfer all your contacts, photos, and videos.”
After the phone was finished Lawrence and Heather made their way to the mall they wandered the halls for hours. They had lunch in the food court they went to the Hot Topic store and looked at multiple types of shirts. They laughed and snickered at one another as they went into the dressing room and reappeared with a new shirt, or jeans on. Heather was looking through some bracelets when her expression changed from happy to almost depressed.
“Heather? Heather what’s wrong?” asked Lawrence.
“Nothing, Lawrence I’m, I’m fine.” she replied a small tear formed in the corner of her eye, Lawrence noticed this.
“No your not, tell me what’s bothering you.” Lawrence pushed.
“Well, it’s this song.” Heather told him. Lawrence stopped and listened to the song playing through the store speakers, So Far Away, by Avenge Sevenfold.
“It was my dad’s favorite song, every time I hear it, I just remember him that’s all.” Heather continued.
“You never really told me about your dad, maybe talking about it will help? Of course I’m not going to force you.” Lawrence suggested.
“Well he was nice, helpful, caring, he was a really good dad. I still remember his funeral, we had to have a closed casket. From what his friends told me he gave his life so they could live. He distracted some enemy soldiers, lured them away from a house they were hiding in. They tried to go after him, but it was too late after all the smoke had cleared they took his body with them so he could be sent home. The last day I saw him right before he left for deployment he took me to and ice cream shop and he played this song in his truck.”
“He sounds like a great man.” Lawrence said.
“He was, I miss him so much.” Heather replied.
Lawrence didn’t want to push the conversation anymore, Heather was on the brink of tears. He just thanked her for sharing something that was clearly hard for her to talk about. They spent the rest of the day together, by eight o'clock the sun started to go down, Lawrence made his way home after escorting Heather back to her place.
As Lawrence approached his home he saw his father standing in the open doorway, he had a half empty bottle of Makers Mark in his left hand.
“Were you been Boy?” he said through drunken speech.
“I was out.” Lawrence replied harshly.
Lawrence's father placed down his bottle and walked out to the driveway, he stood in front of Lawrence and rammed his right fist into his stomach. Lawrence keeled over in pain, before falling to his knees. His father looked down on him, as he has so many times before.
“That’s not good enough.” he shouted.
Lawrence couldn’t respond he had no breath to talk. Lawrence then felt the same anger he felt when he stood over Tyler’s hospital beed. Lawrence clenched his fists, his father saw it and mocked him.
“Oh, you going to take a shot at me? You feel like a big man? Well I’m not stopping you, come on give me your best shot.” he said.
Lawrence wanted to so badly, but if he was to lash out and attack his father then he would be no better. So Lawrence slowly unclenched his fists.
“That’s what I thought, your weak, just like your mother.” his father continued.
Lawrence got up off his knees and walked to his house, he started to make his way to the kitchen, he knew Scarlett would be there. She always enjoyed drawing there.
“Were you going Boy?” asked Lawrence’s father.
“I’m going to see my sister and don’t you dare try and stop me.” Lawrence said trying to suppress his anger, so he didn’t scare his little sister.
As he entered the kitchen he saw his little sister drawing a picture of a angel.
“Hey, little one.” Lawrence said.
“Hi Lawrence.” replied Scarlett
“I’m sorry I haven’t really been around recently.”
“It’s OK, I know you were just off with Heather.”
Lawrence’s was shocked at where Scarlett had gotten that idea, even though it was true, he never spoke a word of her at home.
“Where did you hear that?” asked Lawrence with slight concern in his voice.
“Some boy came by today looking for you, he said his name was Eugene I think. I went to knock on your door and you didn’t answer. I came back and told the boy you weren’t here, he laughed a little then said ‘you were probably with Heather’. Scarlett explained.
Lawrence quickly looked down at his phone, which was on silent, and saw four missed calls from Eugene.
“Lawrence, who’s Heather?” Scarlett continued.
“Um, that’s a story for another day, OK?”
“Your funny.” she laughed.
“Ya, hey can you do me a favor Scarlett?”
“I think so.”
“I need you to go to your room and I need you to stay in there for a little bit, if you do I’ll read you Jack and Jill before bedtime OK?” Lawrence said almost in a whisper, so his father couldn’t hear.
“OK.” Scarlett said with slight confusion, but still a playful voice.
“And no matter what you hear you need to stay in your room OK?” Lawrence added in the same whisper tone.
Scarlett ran to her room and passed her father in the hallway. Lawrence started to walk down the hall toward the stairs leading to his room. After passing his father, his father stopped him.
“Why is Scarlett going to her room?” he asked with anger.
“I told her to go there.” Lawrence said not trening to him.
“Why? Why? Because I don’t trust you around her, I feel that you will treat her like mom, or Claire, or me.” Lawrence said getting into his father’s face, “But your normally to drunk to know what you're doing and even if you were sober I doubt you would care about us.” he continued.
Lawrence started to walk away when a blunt object came down hard on the back of his head. Lawrence was brought to one knee from the impact and he could feel blood going down the back of his head. Before Lawrence knew what was happening he felt his father's knee being forced into his face. Lawrence’s noise and lip started to bleed. His father then picked Lawrence up and threw him against the wall and punched him in the gut. He kept him up to the wall by placing his forearm on his throat.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that.” his father said enraged.
Lawrence said nothing, but he did spit blood on his father’s face. His father punched Lawrence in the gut a second time. He then threw Lawrence toward the stairs. Lawrence went to his room and locked the door. His rage could no longer be controlled and he punched the wall next to his door, leaving a small crater and cracks protruding from it.
Lawrence then cleaned himself of blood, checked to make sure his nose wasn’t broken, and when to read Scarlett the story. After she had fallen asleep Lawrence pulled a blanket over her, kissed the top of her head, then went to his room. Before Lawrence laid his head down to sleep he sent Heather a text message telling her how much fun he had that day and to wish her a goodnight, after she responded the same Lawrence fell into a deep, undisturbed able sleep.