The City Girl

The Battles We Fight

Riley's POV

While it was a miracle my father didn't ban me from dating Lucas, he still forbid Lucas from stepping into our house. He can be so shallow sometimes; Lucas didn't do anything except wear the wrong clothes and say the wrong things at dinner. I just couldn't help but hate him from time to time. So I snuck out of my room (Lucas was right, it is easy to jump off the balcony) to go visit my boyfriend.

Maybe Dad was right; I have changed since we moved. But was the change such a bad thing? Back in New York, I was superficial and did whatever I was told. Now, I have a mind of my own and breaking free from my stereotype. I don't care about what Missy says about me and I embraced my freedom of being an individual. I'm sixteen now and I have to grow up at some point. Are Lucas and his friends really being such a bad influence on me?

Lucas's house wasn't as decrepit and poverty-stricken as Maya's; in fact things were in very good shape. His home was pretty average for a middle-class family. I decided not go through the front door and instead surprise Lucas by knocking on his window. When I went into the backyard, I heard a lot of yelling. In fact, one of the voices sounded familiar: Lucas.

"I'm not getting you any more whiskey because all you is get drunk and mess up the house and leave me to clean it up! I'm not here to be your servant! I'M YOUR SON!" Lucas yells.

"Do you know how lucky you are to even be under my roof? I could've kicked your stupid ass out of here when your mother left! In fact, you're not even my son, YOU'RE HER SON! And what did she do? Ran off and left me to deal with you!" his father retorted cruelly.

"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!" Lucas started to sob.

"Why, because you start crying when I mention her? You're nothing but a cowardly little leftover of your mother. No spine, no brain, no respect. You're just like her: stupid, whiny, disrespectful, and WORTHLESS!" Lucas's father shouts.

Lucas told me he was cruel but I didn't know this cruel. What are they doing in there?

I peered into the kitchen window and saw something horrifying. Lucas's father took off his belt and attacked his son with it. He slashed it over Lucas's face and arms, leaving behind deep red welts and bruises. He drags his defenseless son over to the dining room and continued to beat him up.

Mr. Friar muttered curse words as he punched his son in the face, causing a black eye. Lucas somehow picked himself up and tackled his father but was unsuccessful as Mr. Friar gained the upper hand once more.

Why wasn't I doing anything? How could I not do anything? My feet were frozen to the ground, my eyes glued to the window screen in horror. I knew I had to stop this but I was simply paralyzed in the backyard. Words kept rushing through my head.

Why aren't you moving?

How could Mr. Friar do this to his own son?

What am I doing here, watching this?

How could I be such a terrible person by just standing here?

Is this why Lucas keeps secrets?

How is he not dead?

How do I stop Mr. Friar anyway? I can't fight at all!

Lucas's father eventually stopped fighting his son and went outside for a smoke. Lucas was unconscious on the floor. My heart stopped. Is he dead? Did I just witness a murder?

But then Lucas got up, wiped off the blood, and crawled upstairs like everything was normal, like this happened every day.

Does this happen every day?

I just couldn't help but run away when the horror show was over.

Lucas's POV

I cleaned myself off and nursed my wounds after my dad's routinely attack. He needs to remind me every day that I am not his son and doesn't deserve to be his son. I thought I saw someone in the backyard but it must've been my imagination.

As I started doing my homework, I kept getting flashbacks of my mother. Her screams of pain when Dad slams his fists into her body. The way she comforted me after my dad left for work. It almost was impossible to hate her, but I still do. Is my dad right? Am I really just like her? But what did my mother did to him besides leave me for him to deal with? When they got married, she didn't want to leave him. But even when he revealed his awful ways, she still kept making him food and cleaning up his house and even conceived his son. It wasn't until my ninth year until she was finally fed up with him. But where she went was the real mystery. She wasn't in Texas, that's for sure. Sometimes, I wonder if she has a new son to love and hold and lie to.

Later in the afternoon, I checked the mail. Since my father was always drunk, I do everything around the house. Clean up his messes, do the laundry, make myself some food. My mother used to do all of this and even taught me a few chores. Now I can't help but fold the clothes exactly the way she did.

There were the assorted bills and taxes (which Dad rarely does) and the occasional Seventeen magazine that was supposed to go to the house across the street. But what was really shocking was that there was actually a letter for me. My name was scrawled on the envelope. Maybe there was another Lucas Friar on this street. I don't even know anyone who writes actual physical letters besides my uncle Pete who sometimes mails my dad a few letters from prison (Dad never reads them but I sometimes do). But the letter wasn't from my uncle.

It was from my mother.

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