8

The next day I got out of bed at about six o'clock; I hadn't been able to sleep all night. I made myself a quick breakfast of cereal and milk and sat down to see what was on TV.

"You're up awfully early," Mom said when she came down the stairs.

"I could sleep."

"Did that dog keep you up?"

An odd wave of relief washed over me; Mom heard the dog too meaning I wasn't crazy.

"It woke your dad up too," she said when I'd told her that's what kept me up. "Luckily for you, you have all day to catch up on your sleep."

"Yeah," I said. "I'll probably get some sleep later." I really wouldn't-I wasn't tired at all. I was still running through possible reasons as to why Lawrence hadn't been home yesterday and was thinking of ways to subtly go over and see if he was home now. But until I figured something out I decided to just veg on the couch.

I guess I was wrong about being tired because before I knew it I was waking up on the couch at noon. I thought about going back to sleep, but I didn't really want totally waste the day so I got up and got dressed.

I thought about checking up on Lawrence, but chickened out and decided to call up Lacey.

"Sorry, Kim, I'm in St. Louis with Mom," Lacey said when I called her.

"What are you guys doing there?" I asked, making conversation.

"Mom just wanted to take me shopping and you know I'm not going to give up that opportunity."

I laughed and we chatted for a few more minutes before I let her go. I called up Trish to see if she could alleviate my boredom.

"Come on over!" she said when I told her I was bored. She sounded really excited to hear from me. "Lonnie's on his way over, but we're just going to be watching movies and playing video games."

"Oh, if Lonnie's coming over I don't really want to intrude," I said.

"You wouldn't be intruding. We like hanging out with you."

"Are you sure?" I really didn't want to feel awkward. There's nothing worse than being the fifth wheel.

"I am officially inviting you over. If you don't show up I'll take it as a personal insult."

I laughed and accepted the invitation. I got up to put my shoes on and my eyes drifted to Lawrence's house. It was killing me going so long without seeing him.

Just do it, I told myself. Go over there and invite him to go with you. Trish and Lonnie like him and you wouldn't feel so unwanted if you had someone with you. I took a deep breath and decided to listen to myself for once. I strode out the front door and walked over to his house; trying to walk as fast as I could so I didn't lose my nerve. Before I knew it I was standing on the Ryder's porch ringing the doorbell.

It was Mrs. Ryder who answered the door again. "Kim, hello," she said.

"Hi," I said. "I was wondering if Lawrence was home?"

She smile apologetically at me. "I'm sorry, but he's not."

Not home again? Where is he always going? I scanned her brown eyes trying to get some clue where Lawrence might be. I didn't see anything.

I didn't even bother to ask where he was this time. I knew she would only give me the runaround. I turned and stormed off back home. I'm not even sure if I said bye and really didn't care. She was lying to me and covering for Lawrence, but I didn't care. I was done with him.

I got into my car and flew to Trish's house hoping a day with friends would take my mind off of that lying, sneaking snake. I wasn't going to talk about him or even think about him.