By A. Hosack, P. Berman, & K. Hecht
Maybe he’s never coming back? I’ve lost the only man who could ever love me!
Claire is sad and lonely. She hasn’t heard from Larry in the last month; maybe he will never call her again! She keeps dreaming about the times she had sex with him and how warm and good his body smelled. What was she going to do without him? Thoughts of being alone for life kept mixing in her dreams with fears of flunking out of school when it started.
She was way too stupid to be someone who was so important. The patients would never trust someone like her. They would be able to tell she was trash who came from trash.
When Claire drove by the school with Mrs. Carson the first time, she felt so excited and sure things would be okay. She had been in school for a month and working so hard. Tomorrow was the first test and, alone in her room, terrifying thoughts just kept flooding through her mind making it impossible to concentrate when she tried to study. Claire told herself to be calm, she took four deep breathes but she was still so anxious her heart hurt. How could she reach out to Mrs. Carson for more help; she was already taking care of Davy for her so that Claire could focus on studying. Instead of sitting at her table with her books, Claire was lying on her bed, paralyzed by her own fears. Who was she trying to kid? A foster kid making so much money? The teachers must think she is an idiot. No one in the class is speaking to her. She will flunk the test and be kicked out of school. The Carsons will be so disappointed in her. Foster care will end because she isn’t in school. She and Davy will starve on the street. Larry won’t even know or care. Claire sobbed into her pillow.
The doorbell rang. Claire ignored it. Mrs. Carson began calling out her name. Claire came out of her room and look toward the front door. There, on the other side of the door, was a smiling Larry. She ran into his arms and the kissed she received melted her insides. When the kiss was over, Larry had carried her outside and twirled her around.
“I have missed you so much Larry… I need you so much!” This was just what Larry wanted to hear. He twirled her around again and then invited her out to dinner. Davy wasn’t home yet but she was afraid to mention his name. She asked him to wait while she got her purse. She was lying to Larry and feeling guilty. She was really going in to find out if Mrs. Carson would take care of Davy while she went out to dinner.
Mrs. Carson doesn’t have a good feeling about Larry. However, she saw how much happier Claire was after a month of looking so sad and lost. “Sure, sweet heart, I will look after Davy. Don’t be home too late, remember you have that test tomorrow at school.” The test…she had forgotten about it. She wanted to study more but maybe Larry wouldn’t come back if she put him off. She couldn’t risk that.
Claire figured she better keep all thoughts of Davy and the test to herself and just focus on Larry. He took her to Red Robin and bought her the expensive bacon cheeseburger and a strawberry milkshake. She just couldn’t take her eyes off him. Suddenly, he looks down and his face gets red. “So, have you done anything about that brat yet?” Claire told Larry that Davy was going to school now at Head Start and his teachers thought he was smart. Claire was hoping Larry might be proud of Davy.
Larry wasn’t proud of Davy. He was angry. Despite missing Claire, he had stayed away from her for a month to show her who was boss. Yet, just thirty minutes later she was bragging about how smart her brat was. His mother had never called him smart his entire life. In fact, she had joined his dad in calling him a pathetic son who would amount to nothing. . . and he had never talked to his dad like Davy talked back to him.
Claire could have noticed how hard I’m working at the bar. She could have noticed how I had saved up, by going without beer, to buy a car. But no, it’s only what the brat does that gets her attention!
Larry’s jealous thoughts feed his anger until he goes berserk. Right at the restaurant he leans towards Claire and hits her hard in the face. Then, he says it is time to leave. He pulls Claire to her feet, drops money on the table, and practically drags her back to the car. All the way back home he screams at her that she is totally disloyal to him and has deserved what she got. By the time she is walking up the steps, she feels frozen inside. She can’t find her key to the house and rings the doorbell. Larry is still screaming abuse at her out his car window as Mr. Carson opens the front door. He just stares at Claire’s face; marks are already beginning to emerge around her eye. Mr. Carson charges down towards Larry who takes one look at his face and drives off. Mr. Carson whips out his cell phone, takes a picture of Larry’s license plate, and calls the police to report Larry for assault. Claire has stumbled into the house and Mrs. Carson takes one look at Claire’s face and rushes off to get her some ice.
Claire doesn’t know that Mr. Carson called the police until they arrive and want to talk to her. She had always been told growing up that family business stayed in the family. She knew Larry wouldn’t want her to talk to the police.
What was she to do? The Carsons wanted her to tell the police what happened?
She is getting a bad headache, her face hurts. Mrs. Carson holds her hand and tells her to just tell the police what happened. Claire admits to the officers that Larry punched her at the restaurant. She says he has never done this before, and that she doesn’t want to press charges. Mr. Carson looks her in the eye and tells her she needs to do the right thing, which is protect herself and Davy by holding Larry accountable for what he did. She knows she must protect her Davy, so Mr. Carsons words changes her mind. She agrees to press charges. The police leave to go the restaurant to interview potential witnesses.
What are the police going to do with Larry? How is she going to explain to Davy why her face is purple? Davy is looking more and more like Larry. Does this mean anything?