The next day Lawrence was awakened by his phones ringtone, looking at the screen and seeing that it was Eugene.
“Do you know what time it is?” asked Lawrence with a slight yawn.
“Dude are you just waking up?” asked Eugene surprised.
“Ya, why?” Lawrence replied.
“It’s almost noon.” Eugene said with a laugh. “I just called to see if your up to catch a movie with me, Tyler, and Colin?”
“Um, sure when?” said Lawrence still a little dazed.
“We’re all meeting at the theater at about two.”
“K, I’ll see you then.” Lawrence hung up the phone not waiting to hear a reply from Eugene.
Lawrence got to the theater at one fifty and saw Tyler and Colin. They seemed to be in a heated argument that was escalating quickly. Lawrence picked up his pace to see if he could stop them before it got serious.
“Or has playing that violent music at ear splitting volume finally melted your brain.” Colin shouted at Tyler, Lawrence didn’t hear what he said before that, but that was not important.
“You're treading on thin ice Colin.” Tyler shot back, Lawrence could tell that Tyler was close to ripping Colin’s throat out.
Lawrence pushed himself between them and held them apart. Colin pushed him away.
“Stay out of this Lawrence. If Tyler want’s to go, I’ll go. If he wants to step up, be a big man and throw some fists. I say: let him. I’ll just blow what degraded scraps of brain he has left all over the sidewalk.” Colin shouted.
Just then a voice was heard from behind the three of them. “No one is blowing anyone’s brains anywhere.” It was Eugene.
“You two are going to kiss and makeup, then we’re all going to the movie as friends got it.” he told them, well it was more like an order.
Tyler and Colin looked each other in the eye and shook hands.
“Fine, but if you ever insult me like that again, there will be consequences.” Tyler warned.
“Looking forward to it.” Colin said with a smug grin.
After the movie Lawrence, Tyler, Colin, and Eugene all went to the arcade, after that they went to a small diner for lunch. Lawrence and Eugen sat together and talked for a bit.
“Hey, thanks.” said Lawrence out of the blue.
“For what?” asked Eugene.
“For last night, as much as I hate to admit it. I appreciate what you did.”
“No need to thank me. I was just one friend helping another with some apparently confusing feelings. Oh and don’t be surprised if Heather calls you some time.”
“Why would she call me?”
“Well, after you left I gave her your number.”
“You did what?”
“See that’s why I waited until after you left, I knew you would get like this.”
Lawrence's cheeks turned a slight shade of red when he got the news.
“Nothing to be embarrassed about.” continued Eugene.
“K, I guess I should thank you?” said Lawrence.
“Well, not the best thank you, but I’ll take it.” Eugene said with a laugh.
After lunch Lawrence started to make his trip back home. When he arrived home he took a shower. He would stand there and let the warm water run down his face and back. For Lawrence it was a time of peace. As if the water could wash away all the pain in his life, as if the water could change his father, as if the water could cure Claire. He knew it couldn’t, but the thought of it calmed him.
After the shower Lawrence sat and played video games for a few hours. He then got a call from Heather. She wanted to meet him at the mall. She thought it would be nice for them to hang out in a public setting. They meet at the entrance and walked around for a few minutes, then stopped at a clothing store.
“So Lawrence, did you hear the news?” asked Heather, looking through the shirts.
“No, what’s up?” Lawrence replied.
“I heared that Eugene and Anna had a huge fight and split up.” she continued.
“Never figured you were one for a gossip Heather?” Lawrence said with a slight laugh.
“I'm not a gossip. I thought it was just information between friends. I mean we're friends. You, Eugene, Colin, and Tyler are all friends. I just figured it was somthing to know was all.”
After the store they walked the halls for a bit looking at all the different displays.
“Hey Lawrence, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” said Hather.
“Oh and what’s that?” replied Lawrence.
“Why do you always wear long sleeved shirts and jackets, even if the weather is close to ninety?” she asked.
“It’s complicated.” he said, Heather could tell he was trying to hide something. She could see the way he was trying not to make eye contact.
“Lawrence what aren’t you telling me?”
“Nothing, I just like wearing clothes like this.”
With that Heather grabbed his arm and forced him to face her.
“Lawrence, what are you hiding?” Heather pushed.
Lawrence knew she would not stop until she got an answer. He looked around to make sure no one else was around, then he rolled up his sleeves revealing his forearms covered in old and new cigarette burns. Heather gasped at the site of them.
“My God, who did this to you?” Heather asked cautiously.
“My father.” he replied in almost a wiper tone.
“Lawrence, you need to tell the authorities and-” Heather was about to say more, but Lawrence cut her off.
“No! I can’t tell the police.”
“Why? He shouldn’t get to do this to you.”
“I know, but if I go to the police and he gets arrested. Then me and Scarlett get separated in foster care. I am all she has left, I can’t leave her.”
“What about your mom?”
“I haven’t seen her in almost ten years. I doubt she would come out of hiding, just because my father got arrested. Then there’s Claire, if we get separated in foster care she would have to choose who she wanted to live closest to and I am not going to put that kind of decision on her, not in the state she’s in.” Lawrence said, the he placed his hands on Heather’s shoulder and lightly gripped them. “Heather you are the only person who knows this, so I’m begging you, please keep this a secret, please.”
Heather took a moment to gather her thoughts, she was a little shocked at everything that was said, then she answered. “OK.”
“Say the words... please”
“OK, Lawrence I will keep it a secret.”
“Thank you.” said Lawrence as he gave Heather a large hug. “Thank you so much.”
Lawrence released Heather, rolled down his sleeves and left for home. That was the first person Lawrence had ever told about his father’s abuse. To Lawrence it felt like a large weight was lifted from his chest.