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“She already hates us.”

“Yeah.” I closed my eyes. I’d been protecting him for so long, but I couldn’t anymore. “I have no idea what she’ll do, but I’m assuming she’ll want us out eventually.”

Another harsh laugh came from him. “So it’s over.”

It was. A resounding ache was in my gut. It was worse than ever before. “Yeah. It’s over between Mom and Dad.”

“They’ve been divorced for a while. She moved out years ago.” He sighed. “Why is this still hurting? It’s like the pain will never go away.”

“Yeah.” The ache deepened as he spoke.

His voice dropped to a whisper. “Why do I feel like I’m that little kid again, listening to Mom cry as he ignores her?”

We were both there, reliving that moment. I was on the stairway with him, hearing their argument from our floor. Logan said, “We shouldn’t have had to go through that.”

“We’re not the first.”

“I know.” I wouldn’t do that, not to my own child. “It hurts because it’s done, for real this time. He moved on.”

“Mom hasn’t.”

“She will.” She would have to. “He left her alone a long time ago, she just didn’t let him go.”

Logan cursed again. “This sucks.”

“I know.” The ache was still embedded in my chest. It wasn’t going anywhere. I’d have to live with it. I already had been. “I want to get drunk tonight.”

He flashed me a grin, brushing at his eyes at the same time. “I thought you stopped drinking for football.”


He laughed. “Coach says you can’t drink, remember? It’ll screw up your training.”

“Fuck my training.” I shook my head. “Fuck this night.”

“Fuck our life.”

I nodded. “Fuck our family.”

Logan stopped grinning. The sadness appeared over his face again. Sometimes I didn’t think it ever left him. He said softly, “You and me.”

“You and me.” It always had been. It always would be. “Let’s forget what’s going on for tonight, just one night. Let’s have fun. Then we’ll deal with whatever happens.”

He nodded. “Okay.” He cursed then. “We’re going to have a stepsister. Shit. How’s that going to go?”

I grinned.

“What if she’s ugly?”

I frowned. “Does it matter?”

“What if she’s hot? Would that be worse?”

I didn’t know. In that moment, I didn’t care. Logan knew she was moving in with us. He had handled it better than I thought. Then I said, “I love you, brother.”

He murmured back, “I love you too, big brother.”

We didn’t leave the room, not at first. We didn’t say anything else either. It was a comfortable silence between us. Our lives were changing again. We’d deal. We always did. I didn’t want to go back to the party. For a moment, just one moment, I sat in that room and I wasn’t the Mason Kade everyone expected to deal with. I was hurting. I was angry. I felt like we had no parents, but I did have a brother. Logan met my gaze. He was thinking the same thing. We had each other. We would continue to have each other, but at that moment, we were still the little boys who were hearing their parents break up a family.

I could’ve sat in that room for the rest of the night.



“Mason, we have a problem.”

It was the night before they moved in. I gripped the wheel tighter when Logan started laughing like a hyena beside me. Our buddy, Strauss, was dissecting the exchange we witnessed twenty minutes earlier between Kate and Jasmine so I adjusted the rearview mirror to see Ethan better. “What?”

“We have a problem.”

“Then Kate whipped out that bottle and Jasmine pissed her pants, I almost lost it,” Strauss continued to say as Logan kept laughing.

“Shut the f**k up.” I punched my brother. He was drunk, he’d just gotten laid by two girls, and he loved hearing Strauss’ commentary on any chick fight we saw, but I couldn’t take anymore.

“Mase!” Ethan hit my seat. “I told you. I have a problem.”

Logan glared at him. “Shut the f**k up, Fischer. Strauss is talking.”

“You shut the f**k up. Now. I have a problem.”

We were all silent. Waiting. When Ethan didn’t comment right away, Logan reached over and punched his leg. “No follow through, man. That’s your problem. On and off the field.”

“I forgot my problem.”


“Yeah.” Strauss shook his head. “We were all quiet, but you lost your turn. You didn’t perform. You gotta think quick on your feet, Fischer.”

“You guys are pissing me off.”

Logan started laughing again. When I heard his voice starting to rise again, I spotted Quickie’s and turned into the parking lot. I’d had enough. As I wheeled next to a gas pump, I turned the engine off and twisted back around. “Logan, go inside and get something to sober up. I’m not taking you home like this.”

He smirked at me as his eyes glazed over. “We’re not going home. You heard Ethan. He’s got a problem.” Then he clambered outside.

When Fischer didn’t follow him right away, I shot him a glare. “Go with him. Calm him the f**k down.”

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