•2• // A Night You'll Remember

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LAURENS, THIRD POV

John played with the hall pass in his hand. He was temporarily excused from his classroom to head to the men's restroom with a limited time of five minutes.

The ticks ringing in his head was roaring, but he wasn't agitated. He was used to keeping track of everything.

The ticks stopped.

Across the distance, he saw Hamilton. He wasn't casually strolling through the halls like John, but he was receiving blow after blow on the floor. His pale face was littered with purple bruises, and blood seeped out of the corner of his lips. The most remarkable thing was the fact that Hamilton showed no reaction.

No screaming. No crying.

Although John was respected by everyone in the school, he didn't like witnessing people getting beat up like rag dolls. He had a heart unlike the majority of students.

"Hey!" John called out, grabbing the two assaulters' attention. "Don't ya both have somewhere to go? I'll take care of this." The two turned around and eyed John before responding.

"Ah," The taller one laughed and made his way towards John, patting his back and guiding him towards Hamilton, "I see. You wanna take care of the dirty work today. Well, see ya later, Johnny."

John mimicked him. "Yeah. See ya later, man."

Once John confirmed their absence, he put his attention towards Hamilton. He pondered with his options of speaking, or if he should skip class and be there by his side at the nurse's office, or if he should just drop him off there and—

"Curly fry," Hamilton muttered, "if you wanna do something good, just head back to class. I'll take myself out of here."

"I don't know if your condition is stable enough for me to allow you to do so," John told him. "I'm actually sorry for letting that happen to you in the first place..."

"L-O-L," Hamilton said, "you didn't even do anything. I have no idea why you're apologizing."

"Did you just say the acronym for 'Laugh Out Loud'?" John snickered, sitting down next to Hamilton and pulling one knee close to his chest.

"Yes I did," Hamilton answered, "and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it."

John sighed. "Well, I can take you to the nurs—"

"No."

"Why not?" John cocked his head to the side. There was nothing wrong with being treated with care. Doctors and nurses were generally kind to John and gave him essential information to improve his health if he ever had any illnesses. How could anyone reject an individual devoted to keeping you in good shape?

"They aren't... worth my time," Hamilton said slowly, furrowing his eyebrows together slightly. "I'm already aware of my bruises. Therefore, I'm able to help myself. I don't get any benefit from this since I already own the bandages, and I don't want a nurse seeing my chest. It makes me feel uncomfortable."

"But you're hurt, and I guarantee you'll hardly be able to walk." John countered solemnly.

Hamilton turned his head and met John's eyes blankly. "I don't need help. It's not even a huge deal. These bruises will only last maybe a couple of days and gradually fade. Nothing traumatizing."

"Can you just listen to me?" John let out a sigh of frustration. "I'm not gonna let you parade around this building with bruises. The teachers aren't even going to let that happen either. It's not even that hard to just give something a chance—"

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