Chapter 35

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Chapter 35

       Ever since Laughlin told me what happened between him and his mother, he had been...isolated. He wasn't talking to anyone, even me. Honestly, I was a bit worried after what he told me. Why on earth would his mother come after me if he never gave her money from the tournament?

       Laughlin took off as soon as he woke up, but I didn't bother following him. He just remembered what happened and it was not good at all. He probably needed a breather.

       The storm passed in the morning, so after I had breakfast with the Wildes, something Lisa and Steve insisted, I headed to the gym for my morning shift.

       As soon as I got there, Dad gave me the normal duties I had to do. I walked around the gym, collecting all the used towels, once again holding my breath. Once I reached the boxing room, I placed them in a pile on the floor beside the door. Laughlin was there, taking his anger out on the punching bag. Normally, I wouldn't interfere with him practicing his boxing, but considering he just got released from the hospital and was supposed to take it easy.

       Right as he was about to throw another punch, I stood in front of him with my arms crossed. "What are you doing here?" he asked breathlessly, lowering his arms.

       "My dad owns this place," I reminded. "I work here. Ring any bells?"

       "Sorry," Laughlin said, taking off his boxing gloves and sitting down on the bench. "I've just been a bit....occupied."

       "Why are you here, anyway?" I asked.

       Laughlin shrugged. "I don't know. To blow off steam? Take my mind of things?"

       "But you were just released from the hospital yesterday," I said. "Are you sure that was the best idea?"

       Laughlin looked down and I immediately knew that he wasn't telling me something. I knew the look on his face all too well. "Laughlin, is there anything else you want to tell me?"

       Laughlin hesitated before nodding. "Uh....Well, I've been thinking about my mom said and about us. I don't want you getting hurt, so...."

       "Stop," I interrupted, knowing what he was going to say. "Don't say it, Laughlin."

       Laughlin stood up and walked over to me. "Elliot, it's the only way to protect you."

       "Don't give me that," I said. "It isn't the only way to protect me and honestly, it's quite a stupid thing to do."

       "She won't go after you if...."

       "What?" I asked. "If we break up? Laughlin, breaking up won't stop her. If anything, it will make you more vulnerable. I'll be able to handle anything your mother throws at me."

       Laughlin raised an eyebrow. "Really? You have no idea what she's capable of, Elliot. She threw a glass bottle at Munro and she hired two men to beat the living crap out of me. Do you want to know what she's going to do to you?"

       "No, I don't," I said. "But she won't come after me because of my dad. He owns this gym and he's one of the best boxers there is. If anyone so much lays a finger on me, he'll lose it."

       "That doesn't mean my mom won't go after you," Laughlin said. "She's probably planning how to go after you already."

       "Would you stop with the coming after me thing?" I asked. "She got you paranoid."

       "She sent me to the hospital," Laughlin reminded. "If I see you in the hospital because of her, I won't be able to live with myself."

       "But it won't be your fault," I objected.

       "It will be if I don't give her the money," Laughlin said. "She's going to hurt you a whole lot if I don't win the tournament. She send both me and Munro to the hospital. I don't want her sending you there!"

       I raised an eyebrow, trying to ignore his raising voice. "So you think breaking up with me will stop your mom from coming after me. She's not an idiot, Laughlin. She'll know you did it just to protect me."

       "And what if she doesn't?!" Laughlin asked. "Do you really want to stick around me and find out what she will do?! Because I sure as hell don't!"

       My heart was beating fast at his yelling. "You promised you wouldn't yell at me again."

       "How can I not when you're being so stupid?!"

       As soon as he said that, I felt like I was punched in the gut. Laughlin knew how much it scared me when he yelled at me. He knew it hurt me and he promised, twice, that it wouldn't happen again. Yet he broke his promise both times.

       "Elliot...." Laughlin began, his voice softening.

       "Just don't," I said. "You promised."

       "I-I didn't mean to," he said.

       "You didn't mean to?" I asked. "I thought you got your anger out of control. I thought you wouldn't yell at me again. I thought you changed. You know what? We'll go with your idea. You get your wish."

       I turned around to walk out, but Laughlin stopped me. "Elliot, wait. I don't want you getting hurt, alright? You mean the world to me, you know that."

       I turned around to face him. "Have you ever thought that maybe sticking together may be what's best. How can your mom come after me if I'm never alone?"

       Laughlin looked down. "I haven't thought about that...."

       "Exactly," I said. "Because you just want to take the easy way out."

       "Elliot, that's not true," Laughlin said. "I haven't been thinking straight. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled."

       "It's fine," I said. "But trust me when I tell you this. If you yell at me one more time, I'm out. You know how I feel about your anger and I don't want to stick around if you don't get it under control."

       "Got it," Laughlin muttered. "I won't yell again. Promise."

       "You better keep that promise," I said. "I need to get back to work. And you need to head home to rest. You shouldn't be training when you just got released from the hospital."

       Laughlin nodded before picking up his boxing gloves and putting them in his gym back. He left with out so much of an acknowledgment.

       Things were changing. I know it was.

________________

So school starts for me on Tuesday so my updates probably won't be as regular, it depends on how much homework I get per day. But judging on the classes I have right now, it shouldn't be that much.

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