It's one of those days that Lottie's interest was in Lake's favorite teddy bear again. She kept on taking the stuffed toy from Lake.
What happened was the two ended up holding each arm of the toy and kept on pulling on it. Lottie managed to take the toy from
Lake but her arm swung towards Leina's expensive and favorite vase. The vase fell on the floor and broke into pieces.
Rush clearly saw everything that had happened. Leina also heard it because she immediately went where her son and daughter were, followed by Reena.
"What happened here?" Leina asked, eyes darting to her son and daughter back and forth. Leina's face darkened upon seeing the broken vase. "Who broke the vase?" She asked angrily, eyes focused on Lake.
"M-Mom-" Lake tried.
"I-I just want to borrow his toy, Mommy. But then-" Lottie tried to explain.
Leina turned to Lake, cutting Lottie off. "Since before, you always cause head ache to me!" Leina said as she grabbed Lake's arm who is shaking in fear. "Do you know how expensive that vase is!?"
Lake is just crying silently while looking at his mother. He's obviously scared of her. He didn't even sob loudly even when Leina spanked his leg.
"Leina, wait a minute,” Reena said, holding on to her friend’s arm which was clutching Lake’s arm tightly.
"Aunt Leina." Rush can't help calling her attention.
His voice was loud resulting in everyone looking at him. "It is not Lake who broke the vase. It was accidentally hit by Lottie." He said.
Leina seemed embarrassed by what he said. She looked at Lottie.
"I was about to tell you, Mommy," Lottie said in a low voice.
"It's all right, darling. Let's forget about this." Leina turned to Lake. "You can't blame me. You'd always break expensive vases in the past." Leina covered her mistake.
It's like nothing happened when she called for the maid and instructed her to clean the broken vase. She invited Reena to go back to the living room, bringing Lottie with her.
Lake thought that everyone had gone back to the living room. He was surprised to see that Rush is still standing there and staring intently at him.
He was about to say 'thank you' when Rush's face darkened.
"Until when are you gonna keep quiet, Lake? You're already twelve. Yes, your stuttering had lessened, but for God's sake, you should learn how to defend yourself." Rush said angrily.
"Until when are you gonna expect other people to do what you have to do? Your Daddy is still there, yes, but what if he's gone? Like now, why didn't you said that it was not you who broke the vase? You just let Aunt Leina blame and spank you." Rush added.
Lake's tears were already forming in his eyes while listening to Rush's words.
"It was partly your fault why you're scolded. You are too scared to reason out and stand up for yourself. Why did you let them think wrongly of you?" Rush sighed in exasperation. "Grow up, will you?" After saying that, Rush turned around and walked away.
Lake's tears fell when Rush turned his back on him. His words were cruel but they were true.
He was a coward.
Lake just got home from school. He quickly changed his clothes, then took out a picture that he was hiding under his pillow.
He sat in the middle of his bed and stared at the boy in the picture who is none other than Rush.
He secretly took that picture from their big album in the living room. Whenever he is sad, he will just look at that picture and he will feel slightly better.
Even though he doesn't talk to Rush when he's in their house, it doesn't mean that he doesn't notice the older boy. The truth is, he admires him so much.
Aside from the fact that Rush is handsome, he also knows that he is smart. When his mother and his Aunt Reena are talking about Rush, he listens intently even though he shows that he is busy playing with his favorite stuffed toy.
He knows that Rush is also good at sports. So how will he befriend him when he is so different from him?
Rush annoys him most of the time, maybe because he thinks that he is dumb. He's already thirteen years old and he still stutters sometimes. Even he wouldn't want to befriend himself.
For him, Rush is very unreachable. He knows that Rush wouldn't want to have a friend like him.
"See? I knew it, you're crushing on Rush."
Lake almost let out a scream when he heard Lottie speak behind him. He did not notice her entering his room.
He quickly hid the picture under his pillow again.
"Too late for that, Lake. I already saw it. Besides, I already know that you have a crush on Rush. Yuck, he's too old for you." Lottie teased annoyingly.
"T-That's not true."
"Aww, what are you gonna do now? Rush is about to leave you. You won't see him anymore." Lottie continued.
Lake is older than Lottie by two years only but they'd never been close. Even though he wants to get close to her, it feels like their mother won't allow it. Why he thought that way, he had no idea.
"Mommy said that Rush will study in New York. He will leave you now. How pitiful." Lottie kept on teasing him.
He doesn't believe what Lottie was saying because he hadn't heard something like that.
"You still don't want to believe me? That's why we are going to their house later- for Rush's farewell party. Rush will leave you." Lottie taunted.
He learned that Lottie is really telling the truth when their father told him to change his clothes because they will go to Braylen's house for Rush's farewell party before he goes to America.
Lake told them that he feels sick so that he doesn't need to go with them that night. He knows that his mother won't complain because she really doesn't want Lake to go with them if not for his father.
Maybe he is still young at the age of thirteen but it was not a hindrance in knowing that he feels something special for Rush. He knows that what he feels for Rush is more than just a simple crush; more than just a simple like.
That's why his tears just kept on flowing. That's why he can't breathe properly. That's why he's mad and scared at the same time. And it's all because of Rush's departure.
He kissed Rush's picture and placed it over his heart. "I love you, Rush. Be careful to where you're going. Take care of yourself. Even though you don't know it, you're always in my prayers."
After saying that, he closed his eyes.
Rush can't deny the hole in his heart when he saw that Lake did not arrive with his family. He almost wanted to confront his Aunt Leina if she did not let Lake go with them.
He felt like his night was not complete and a big part of him is missing. He doesn't understand the heaviness in his heart when he realized that he will leave without seeing Lake.
He looked up at the night sky and stared at the moon. "Please take good care of Lake while I'm away. Tell him to be strong and that I won't be long."
He whispered pleadingly to the moon.