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She nodded. “You’ll bring Logan tonight?”
“I will.”
“Okay.” She shed more tears, but she never cared if I saw them. She never brushed them away. Pressing another soft kiss to my forehead, she whispered, “I love you. I will always love you. You will never lose your mother. I promise that.” Then she pulled back, gave me another reassuring smile as those tears kept falling, and left.
When the door closed behind her, I waited. It wasn’t long before the car left the driveway and she was gone. That was the end.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
Turning, I glanced to the second floor above me. Logan was watching me, but pulled back immediately. I couldn’t see him anymore so I went up there instead. When I got there he was huddled against the wall. His arms were crossed over each other, resting on his knees, covering his head. I sat beside him. Some of his hair was sticking up so I pressed it down. Ignoring how he flinched, I said, “Why didn’t you just say something? I thought you were going out with that girl again.”
“Fuck off,” he growled, still sheltering himself with his arms closed over his knees. “Get off me.”
I sighed and moved away. “You could’ve just come down and said goodbye.” But he didn’t want to. That’s what the big brother voice was telling me in my head. I told the voice to shut the f**k up, although he was right. Logan wasn’t looking at me. Smiling at him, I said, “I told her that I’d drive you over tonight. You can say your proper goodbyes tonight and then…”
He lifted his head. “And then…we can drink beer tonight?”
He rolled his eyes and brushed some of his tears away. “Come on, Mase. I’m dating now.”
“You’re dating?” I scoffed, grinning at him. I wanted to ruffle his hair, but he always got mad at that. “What’s her name again?”
He glared at me. “Tate.”
“Shit,” I sighed, “you like her, don’t you?”
“Yeah, she’s cool. She’s in your grade too.”
“You got an older woman. You like cougars?” I flashed him a grin.
“Shut up.” I relaxed a little when I saw that his anger was gone. He added, “Our mom just left, for real. They’re done. It’s you and me now.”
“I know.” I threw an arm around his shoulder and pulled him into my side. “Dad’s going to go nuts, now that he doesn’t have to hide all those women. It’s you and me.” It had been for a long time. My own anger started to stir inside me. It was always there when I thought about our dad and the hell he’d put us through. It had gone on for too damn long.
“Why’d she stay with him for so long?” he asked softly.
I glanced down at him. “What do you mean?”
He wasn’t looking at me. Instead, he was picking at his pants. “I can’t remember a time they were ever happy. Why’d she stay?”
He was almost fifteen. My little brother was in eighth grade, and he was asking those questions. Rage crashed through me. He shouldn’t have to deal with this.
I shrugged. “Who knows? Us, maybe? I don’t know how chicks think.”
“If any girl cheats on me, that’s it,” Logan said fiercely. “I’m not putting up with that shit. No way. That girl is done.”
“You can’t cheat either.”
“Never.” He looked up at me.
The adoration on his face pushed some of my anger away. Shit. He was looking at me like I was his parent. Who was I kidding? I was. Our stuff might’ve been paid for by Dad, but I’ve taken care of everything else for so long. I hugged him tight again. “So you’re not going on that date tonight?”
The adoration disappeared. He shoved my arm off and a scowl quickly formed when he scooted against the wall, putting an inch of space between us. I was half tempted to crowd him again. He liked this girl. I could see it, and I was surprised. Girls always liked Logan. He never cared about them until a year ago, but to actually like one girl. That was a new thing for him. I frowned at him. Chicks could be crazy. I hadn’t seen a lot that weren’t. If he liked this girl, I only hoped she was a good one.
He said, “I thought we had to go see Mom and do the goodbye crap.”
“We don’t have to. She’ll be around for a while.”
“She’s not going to L.A.?”
I shook my head. “The divorce is final, but I think she wanted to stick around town for a few more months. Transition away from us or something.”
He made a disgusted sound. “Why aren’t we going with her? We could go to L.A. and leave Dad. That’s what he wants, anyway. He just wants to live his own life.”
He rolled his eyes, and his scowl deepened. “Yeah, yeah. I know. You want to stay because of the football team. What’s so great about the team anyways?”
“The coach knows scouts.”
“Whatever.” He stood up. “I’m not going to see Mom tonight. I’m going to call Tate and have her come over here.”
I frowned. “You better not be having sex with her.”
He had started down the stairs, but froze and turned around. He made an exasperated sound. “Mason!”
“I mean it. No sex. If I find condoms in your room, heads are going to roll.”
“Oh my god. What’s it to you?”
“I’m your brother and I’m in charge. You stick that prick in her, I will know.”
His eyes narrowed. He didn’t believe me.
“You’re a bad f**king liar. I can tell. Don’t do it. You’re way too young.”
“Fuck off.” He started to leave again.
“Logan,” I rose my voice. When he didn’t stop, I said, “I’ll tell Mom and Dad.”
He whipped around. His eyes were heated and his cheeks were flushed again. “You wouldn’t. You’d narc on me? You pansy.”
“I would about that. I mean it. Keep your prick out of her.”
“This sucks.” He threw his hands in the air. “This f**king sucks. How old were you when you started having sex? I know you’ve had girlfriends before.”
“Yes and they cheated. I’m too young to deal with that shit. No dating for me and as for the sex part, none of your damn business. But I was too young.”