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“You can’t bring them here anymore.”
I sat up and ran a hand over my face, groaning. Again. This was f**king happening again. I glanced at my phone and saw it was three in the morning.
My dad yelled back, “This is ridiculous, Helen. Our marriage is not working. We need to stop this charade.”
“Charade?” She laughed. Her voice was muffled through the floor, so I threw on a shirt and headed to the hallway. Her voice became clearer as I did, so I knew they were in the front entrance, right below my stairs. “There’s no charade. I’m telling you the facts. Your children are being affected by this. Stop bringing your women here. I mean it. I won’t say it again.”
“I mean it. No more. You saw how Mason reacted.”
I padded barefoot down the hallway until I was above them. The lights were still off in the hallway and when I got there, I saw Logan already sitting there. His knees were pulled up and his head was pressed against them. I sat down and nudged him. “When did you wake up?”
He didn’t lift his head. His voice was muffled by his knees. “They’ve been fighting for an hour. I heard them when I went to the bathroom.”
They couldn’t hear us or see us, but we could hear them too well. I could hear the emotion in our mom’s voice as she said, “We need to go to counseling. James, you need to go to counseling.”
“No.” He was calm.
I frowned. Logan lifted his head and held his breath.
Our dad continued, “No, Helen. Our marriage is over. It was over before it even started.”
Hearing that, I closed my eyes. Relief, sadness, and anger all blasted me. Logan stirred next to me. “You think it’s for real?”
I nodded. I heard the finality in our dad’s voice. “Yeah.”
Then he said, “Finally.”
I shook my head. This was too messed up. “Come on. Let’s go downstairs to the media room and watch a movie.”
We stood and left. They never knew we were there; we left through the north stairs, at the opposite end of the house. Neither of us slept the rest of the night. A movie played on the television screen. Logan picked it out, but I never focused on what it was. I didn’t think he did either. Their voices kept going for the rest of the night, but they were muffled since we were further away. I glanced at Logan, he was looking back at me. We didn’t need to hear the rest.
The family was done.
I had to get out of that house, so I waited until Logan had fallen asleep. It was a few days later, but for once, the house was quiet. Our dad took off and Mom was around, but once she handed me the keys to my new Escalade, she packed a bag and went to my aunt’s. She asked if we wanted to come along and Logan thought about it, then asked if our cousins could swap with her. She would go there and they would come to our house. She laughed, but I hadn’t. I knew what Logan was thinking. Our mom would cry. She would drink wine, lots of it, and would talk shit about our dad the whole time to our aunt. There’d be lots of ‘I told you so’ and ‘Amen. Just like all the other men’ and other phrases women liked to say. It was uncomfortable. He wanted to avoid being around that, but he wanted to see our cousins. In the end, our mom kept laughing softly to herself as she pressed a kiss to both of our foreheads, then told us to call Mousteff if we needed something.
A rock was thrown and landed on the sidewalk in front of me. I looked up, seeing Nate wave from behind the gate, and darted over. When I slipped over the gate, Nate had stuffed his hands in his pockets and his shoulders hunched forward. He asked, “Are you sure about this?”
I paused. “Yeah. Why?” He couldn’t have had cold feet. We had done worse things.
He lifted a shoulder and nodded to the house. “Aren’t your parents gone? Will Logan be okay in there?”
“Yeah.” I turned, just to make sure, but his window was still dark and his curtains never moved. “Mousteff is staying so if anything happens, he’ll call.”
“Your chef is your chaperone?”
I smirked. “I know. My mom’s idea to soothe her guilty conscience.” Wait. We started down the sidewalk, but I stopped. “How’d you know both my parents are gone? I only told you about my mom.”
Guilt flared over his face. “Sorry. Your dad’s at our house.”
He nodded and grimaced. “I’m sure he’s doing the same thing as your mom. There’s lots of drinking, lots and lots of it. I think Mom’s getting sick of it. I caught her glaring out the kitchen window at our dads on the patio.”
“What’d they do?”
He laughed, following me further down the sidewalk. “Nothing. They were both wasted. I think my dad’s kind of happy yours are splitting. He’s got his old drinking buddy back. I heard him telling my mom last night that it was like his old college days.”
“What’d your mom say?”
“To grow up. He’s too old and fat to be in a fraternity again.” He grinned. “My dad wore his old fraternity shirt for the rest of the day yesterday. I knew it was to get back at my mom.”
“What’d my dad do?”
“I think he found his old one too. I swear, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a game of beer pong going on in the garage when I get home.”
It was hard to hear that. My parents were getting a divorce. Hoo-fucking-rah. No more fighting, wait—who was I kidding?—they would always fight, no matter if they were together or not. Man, though, my parents were getting a divorce. No more Mom in the house. No more Mom and Dad together in the house. I couldn’t say my parents were together, but shit, I haven’t been able to say that for a long time anyway. I couldn’t remember a time when we had a real sense of family, of Mom being Mom and Dad being Dad. They’d been cold roommates for so long.
Nate sensed the turmoil in me and grew silent. When I told him I wanted to get out of the house, he knew of a party. The rich pricks from Fallen Crest Academy were having one. I wasn’t sure about being social tonight. We’d be allowed in, no matter our age. I was Mason Kade. My dad owned half the town and my reputation on the football field gave me an advantage. Even the seniors knew to let me do what I wanted, but when we got there, I stopped on the sidewalk.