the teenager in the emergency room was just Jeff still lose big brother and best friend. Once they finally did arrive, Lew immediately bolted from the car. He still recalled seeing Jeff lying in the bed with his face wrapped and ivy's hooked to his arm. Marcy caught up eventually and she and her sister began to talk in hushed tones. Matt Woods only sat and stared at his son. Lou saw that his eyes were red. His father had cried and in the moment lou allowed himself to pretend to be a child with normal parents. He walked over to his father who hugged him firmly. Well just gonna be okay. I promise E. M. T. S. Assured us the injuries to his face are not life threatening. What happened Dad, we don't know yet. But the Lord's interrupted. We know Jeff was playing with a flare gun showing off for his friends. We could see that his mother had also shed tears but he didn't feel the same level of empathy. He had a theory that Sheila's tears were more likely caused from the embarrassment of having her son injured himself. She was likely far more concerned about being labeled a bad mother than having her first born in the care of the er Then it dawned on him what friends he and Jeff hadn't made any friends since moving to Mandeville. The only other kids they'd met had been randy, keith and Troy. They most certainly were not friends, lou briefly pondered how absurd it would be if their mother had actually forced him to go and hang out with those assholes from the video store parking lot. After finding out that Randy's father was in charge of the branch that his dad worked for. It would almost be impossible. Lou dismissed it though, believing that such an act was far too outrageous for even his parents to come up with. And then Sheila told him he was randy Hayden along with two of his friends. Those boys tried to talk Jeff into putting that flare gun away. Why would he be so Lou felt his own brand of anger growing. Although his was not laced with the same shades of blooming insanity that jeffs had recently become despite his age, Lou was no fool when it came to the methods and thinking of his mother and father, he couldn't imagine a scenario in which Jeff and randy's group would become friends so quickly. Although he did have to admit that it was possible. Still something in his mother's tone, the way she defended the three pieces of shit that accosted her child barely a week ago. Something was there that lou didn't like or trust. Yeah. Why was Jeff hanging out with randy lou? Let it be matt stated patiently. No, Dad. What really happened over there? I told you what happened, Lou, Sheila snout. Let's take a walk, son. Matt said, And lead lou out into the hallway. Dad, I know you work for Hayden. I know our fight caused you some some problems maybe. But but why was lou there? His mom telling the truth, Lou was waiting for his father's typical reaction, stress, annoyance and dismissal. So when his father began to engage his son's concerns, Lou was almost as shocked as when he'd first seen Jeff's condition. They continue to walk. As matt spoke, lou, we're not going to know what really happened in that garage today until, until Jeff wakes up and gives us his side of the story. They say that Jeff shot himself in the face out of negligence, but that was based only on the information given by these little rich assholes. I also couldn't help but notice that the same cop Williamson came to our house last week, was also investigating this incident. That cops covering for randy and his friends. No, no son. Believe me, it was almost impossible for me to stand there and listen to him scold you and Jeff about not locking up your bikes as if that was justification for them to write on them. They had, if you know all of this, then why did you let mom send me to Marcy's and you? You still haven't told me why Jeff was hanging out with randy today. Were they really friends? All of a sudden? Was there something else? Jeff and Randy weren't friends? Your mom and his mom were trying to smooth things over and a pause from that woods? No, I won't lie. Your mom wanted Jeff and randy to get along because the Hayden's are important people in this town. I've already squared things away with max Hayden. For the most part, the idea of the kids trying to make friends that came from your Sheila. Why does mom care so much about this shit? I'm sorry, crap. No shit is exactly what those kids are. Their family's wealth, the success that came from the parents, they were just lucky enough to be born from them. That becomes their shield and sword. It protects them. Like with Williamson and it could be used as a weapon to that with people like Hayden all my life, I worked my ass off to climb the damn corporate ladder, having to bow down to executives who likely produce the majority of randy's in the world. I hated it because because lou no matter how many times you write the reports that make them look good to their bosses, no matter how many times you come in early so they can have hot coffee, waiting. No matter how many times you kiss the goddamn ring, you're always trash to them. Just like me and Jeff. Are you randy, keith and Troy? No, no, you're not. You and Jeff are better now than those little fucks will be in their entire life. I just wanted to make sure that you and Jeff never had to be like me, rolling away in a cubicle, complementing some jackasses tie and laughing at his jokes all in the name of making a living. But christ look, I fucked this up royally, didn't I? I just don't understand why you and mom have to act like you do. Why couldn't you have just stood up for us with Williamson? Why can't you stand up now? Because I love Sheila so much. And one day you'll see what it's like when you're married, Your mother's put up with a lot for me over the years as well. I've made mistakes in the past. She's chosen to forgive them and this this town illusion though, status, it gives her something that I think I I may have taken away years ago to have what it's not for you to know lou But as much as I love your mother, I can't ignore the fact that my son is in the hospital because of some shit head kids. I trust me, lou once we find out from Jeff side of the story, if it turns out randy and his friends did this, I won't have to worry about working for max Hayden any longer because I'll put those kids heads through a fucking wall. Despite the mental trauma that lou felt he was drowning in his father's words, brought a genuine smile to his face. His father continued, now listen, son, don't take any of this to your mom. It's going to have to deal with this her own way. And you already know what that way is likely going to be. I'm going to support her too. She has to go through the emotional distress of having an injured child. She she may not show it in the best of ways, but she loves you both very much. She has her own cross to bear. And I hope one day you can understand that. I hope you won't hate her. Okay, dad, I want hassle, mom, good boy. Thank you. Look, look, I'll I'll take care of Sheila for the next few days. If you agree to take care of Jeff, it's going to need a lot of emotional support. And I know having to rebuild some trust with him and and I will, but in the meantime, he's going to expect you to be his shoulder to lean on. Can you do that for me lou? Of course, dad. And thank you for talking to me for being honest about this. I don't care what kind of house we live in or how much money that you make, I just want my dad and mom too. You have a spot. Mhm. Once Jeff recovers, I'm going to take some time off work and maybe we can go camping or something in that moment, lou felt joy and peace come over him. But he hadn't felt in ages. He felt like he was reunited with his father. He believed in his heart, without doubt that things were going to get better Now he was wrong.