"Steven, you've gone past the three strike rule, and straight into at least twenty strikes!," Lars glared as he stamped down the staircase where Steven was waiting, "What did I tell you about coming to my house when I'm home?!"
"But I didn't open the door myself!", Steven insisted, "Your mom let me in!", he pointed to the red haired woman who cheerfully waved from her spot in her chair as she was knitting.
"Mom!", Lars whined, before hacking his lungs off again for the third time that morning.
"Oh Laramie, don't be so grumpy," Martha waved him off, "You could use the company. How's your throat feeling?"
"Could be better," Lars wheezed after his coughing fit subsided, and he gave a groan at how congested he was. This blasted cold bug had him stuck up in his room for the next couple of days, he was too contagious to be anywhere near his workplace.
"I'll fix you some tea in a few minutes," his mother offered, "In the meantime, why don't you talk to your friend?"
"He's not my-" Lars began grumpily, then groaned, "I'd just get him sick-"
"I've never even had a cold, gem thing y'know?" Steven shrugged, then held up a plate of cookies, "I brought you some 'get well soon' snacks!"
"Oh wasn't that so sweet of you?", Martha smiled, "Laramie what do we say?"
"Laramie!", she scolded.
"UGH," he grumbled, looking at Steven's idiotic smile, gritting out a stilted "Thank you," before lumbering back up the stairs, not even telling Steven to follow him.
"I'm so sorry about that," Martha looked embarrassed, "He's got to learn how to use his manners."
"I've seen worse," Steven shrugged, and put the plate of cookies down, "I guess he can eat these later."
"Would you mind taking his tea up to him?", Martha smiled as she poured it out of a hand painted teapot that was on the coffee table into a mug that looked like a very young child had painted. Small blobby stick figures decorated it, and Steven could only guess that a young Lars had painted it.
Steven had headed up the stairs, trying to remember which door led to the attic stairs, calling out Lars' name, and getting no answer. He opened the first door he came across, and was immediately met with items falling out, crashing on the floor.
"Oh no!", Steven yelped, putting the mug of tea down, and looked at everything that had tipped out of the closet.
An old surfboard, covered in dust, lay flat on the ground. As musty as it was, it still looked to be in good condition, well loved and well used, but not for many years. Steven had to wonder if anyone still did surfing in Beach City. He couldn't ever remember seeing anyone doing it within sight of the temple.
Taking a closer look at the board as he lifted it up, Steven was surprised to see on the underside,scrawled messily in paint, was Lars' name.
Lars had a surfboard?
Once Steven had it pushed back in the closet, he picked up some framed photos that were on the floor, noticing a familiar looking redhead, years younger albeit, balanced confidently on a surfboard as it was gliding over the water in one picture, and posing with the board in another.
Steven's eyes then glanced at something shining on the floor, and before he could pick it up, a voice snapped at him, "What the heck are you doing?!"
Lars glared as he stamped down the hallway towards Steven who began to explain, "I thought this was the attic door and-"
"Aw crap, it's broken!", Lars groaned as he bent over to pick up a piece of a trophy that had fallen out of the closet with the board and photos, then scowled, "What did I say about privacy?!"
"I didn't mean to get into this stuff, I just picked the wrong door!", Steven then apologized, "I'm sorry, maybe I can fix it-?"
"Don't bother," Lars grumbled, brushing dust off it, and picking up the stand, "It was a cheap third place prize anyway."
"...I didn't know you surf!"
"Used to," Lars rolled his eyes, "Not anymore."
"Not your business," Lars glared, slamming the closet door.
"But you got trophies from it!"
"Trophies don't mean nothing."
"Wasn't it fun though?"
Lars glared at him, "...End of discussion, gimme that tea."
"...Why don't you like to surf anymore?"
"It's not your business!", Lars repeated, and looked on the floor, seeing a polaroid of himself on the board, and his face twisted as he ground his heel on it, and picked it up and crumpled it in his pajama pants pocket.
"...Did it make you sad?", Steven then asked, almost knowingly.
"Did surfing...did it remind you of things that made you feel bad, so you didn't want to do it anymore?"
Lars was quiet, his glare less focused on Steven, and moreso at the cup of tea in his hands, still steaming, still balmy, still warm.
Steven was about to apologize for possibly bringing up a sensitive subject when Lars finally spoke up, "When things got bad for me...everything I used to cope got bad too. Even surfing. People would always be staring at me, waiting for me to screw up out there. So it wasn't fun anymore. When I thought I could get back into it, the water got too rough, monsters always popping out, and I guess I didn't want to bother with it anymore."
He pulled the polaroid out of his pocket and uncrumpled it, "Nobody even cares about surfing anymore. Not in this city."
"...well...what if you didn't do it for anybody else? What if you just did it for you?"
Lars glanced at Steven, "I haven't done it in years, I'm way too out of practice."
"Well you just have to practice again! Nobody will care if you fall! At least you're going to be out there and trying!"
"I'll look stupid."
"Not as stupid as someone who keeps a surfboard in a closet!"
Lars gave a small snort and a smirk, "Lame," then sucked in his cheeks thinking for a moment, "Maybe if I get up early enough, I can get out there while the waves are pretty chill and nobody is gonna be watching."
"Really?", Steven grinned, eyes glittering, "Can I come watch you?"
"Absolutely 100% not," Lars spoke flatly, and gently tucked the polaroid in his pocket again, "And if I see you out there, I'll stop," he warned.
"Alright, alright," Steven sighed, then grinned, "...When you get good, can you teach me how to hang ten?"
"I'll teach you how to drown," Lars retorted blankly, and headed up the stairs to the attic, "Thanks."
"For the tea?"
"...Yeah. That," Lars settled, and retreated to his room.
If he wanted to get back in the water before the motivation left his mind within days, he'd have to get over this stupid cold.