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“Stop, son.”
“Don’t call me that. I may be your blood, but you haven’t raised me. You don’t care.” I gestured around the crowd. “They don’t care. You’ll get away with this. You can sleep with any woman and they won’t care about the damage they’re a part of.”
I couldn’t hit him. They were holding me back, but I needed to hurt something, anything. I scanned the crowd and my gaze zeroed in on a lady. I smirked. Her eyes got big and she took a step back. Too late. I called out to her, “I remember you. You were the car girl. He had you up against the car in our driveway.”
The man next to her whipped around to face her. “Is that true?”
She stood frozen. “No, uh—” She glanced at my dad.
The guy saw it and asked, “Why are you looking at him?”
She looked away. “I’m not.”
“You did. I just saw you.” The man looked at me for confirmation.
I nodded to him. “It’s true. And my mom saw the whole thing.”
“Mason,” my dad hissed, stepping closer, “stop it. You’re going to hurt people.”
This was it. This was how I could hurt him, by hurting them. That couple was already gone. The guy had taken off and she ran after him, but this room was full of targets. I started looking again and moved to a lady who had been standing next to the car girl. Of course. They must’ve been friends, but this one I remembered from the pool. Her mouth dropped when she saw I wasn’t looking away. I was only looking at her.
I pointed to her. “Red dress.” The rest of her friends turned to her. They were waiting for what I was going to spill. “You were in the pool with him.”
The guy next to her grabbed her arm. “You better tell me that’s not true, Vivienne.”
“I—” she began to look at my dad, but stopped.
I said further, “She had on a hot pink bikini. I remember because my friends and I went through the backyard to go into the basement and one of them grabbed her top. I think he still has it.”
The guy was shaking his head. His teeth were clenched together. “You did say you lost that top.”
“Dean, no—” She stopped. Her date was already backing away from her. With a disgusted sound, he turned and shoved through the crowd. She started after him, but stopped as she went past my dad and hissed at him, “Stop your son. He’s going to ruin everything!”
There was more. I could feel it. They could feel it too and the air in the room changed. Women started leaving; they didn’t want to be the next target. But people were looking around to see who was leaving. Who would leave? Who was guilty?
“Mason.” My dad reached past Nate’s dad and the other guy still holding me back. He grabbed my arm and started to pull me after him. “Stop this. Now.”
I shoved his arm off me. “You touch me again and we’re going to fight.” I was bigger. The coach had me on a weight training schedule, and I had begun to fill out more. I was bigger than him. My dad registered all of this and paused, cautious now. When he didn’t do or say anything, I laughed and looked for the next target.
I saw her. There was a couple in the corner by the bar. I pointed at her. “Yellow dress.”
She lifted her drink to me in a salute. “I’m single, kid. You’re not going to hurt me.”
“Good to know.” I moved to the next one. A woman in another black dress was inching into the house, away from the patio. “You. Black dress.”
She hurried into the house.
It wouldn’t matter. I glanced to where she had been standing. A group was there, waiting for what I was going to say next. I knew which one was the husband right away. He was glaring at James, his jaw clenched, with the same look of violence in his eyes that I was feeling. He turned to me, waiting. I told him, “In his office. He was supposed to give me a ride to an away game and I heard them. When she left, her dress wasn’t zipped up all the way.”
The husband was seething. He didn’t go after his wife. He went for my dad. His fist was already formed. I watched it happen. My dad was focused on me. He was trying to figure out how to shut me up. He wasn’t looking at who was coming at him and then a woman screamed. The husband didn’t say anything. He was a foot from my dad when he threw the first punch.
It connected with his jaw, square in the middle, and my dad went down.
It was chaos after that.
The husband hit him again, but Nate’s dad went from holding me back to holding the husband back. He yelled in his ear, “Patrick, stop this.”
The husband shook his head. “It wasn’t your wife, Dom. It was mine and that bastard has been with her more than the time the kid saw. I know it. I’ve known it for a while.” He lunged for my dad again, but two other men joined in and held him back.
I wasn’t being held back anymore. I met my dad’s gaze. He was still on the ground, holding the side of his face. Nate’s mom was kneeling at his side, yelling for them to take the husband out. In that moment, all the yelling and chaos melted away.
It was just him and me.
He asked, “Are you done?”
No. “Not by a long shot.”
My dad wasn’t sorry. I could see that. He was going to continue to do what he wanted. There was an arrogance to him. Standing there, seeing him on the ground and bleeding, didn’t make me feel better. Instead of the need to hurt someone, I was empty. The gnawing ache in my stomach was still there, but it was worse. I closed my eyes and hung my head. The gnawing feeling would never go away.
Nate’s mom was in front of me. She pointed to the house. “Leave my house. Now.”
I nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”
As I left, I realized that the only people paying attention to me were the ones I hadn’t called out. As I went past them, each one turned away or stood behind a person, hiding from me. The rest were buzzing about what had happened, and I could hear shouts from outside still. I never minded when people were fearful of me, but this time it left me empty. I had joined them. I had sunk to their level and I felt dirty because of it. When I got to the door, Nate was there. His prick friends were too. I didn’t give a shit what they were thinking, but Nate folded his arms over his chest. He gestured towards the patio area. “My mom kicked you out?”